Wednesday, 28 March 2001
You can't put everything first.
There's an awful lot of elements of the story that need to be close to the beginning. Some indication of the nature of the problem needs to come very early, of course. The reader needs to be clued in to the essential fantastic or science fictional elements early as well. If the main character is going to grow or change, he or she needs to be shown in "ungrown" form early. And, of course, you need to actually start the story moving along.
Sometimes these things aren't too hard, but I'm struggling with them today. I'm doing a major rewrite of the opening to introduce the problem and character earlier, with the result that the science fictional elements are getting pushed back. But those are the bits I like best about this story so far! Argh.
Okay, I feel better. Now I'll go back and try to slip a clue or two in early. You can't put everything first, but you can put what you need to early enough, if you work at it.
That was somewhat successful. I feel even more better.
I got my hands on a copy of Points of Departure, a collection of Pat Murphy's short stories. I'm enjoying it a lot.