Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Good Opening (2)

This is not my picture.  It is the opening frame (post-prologue) of the Joss Whedon comic book Fray, which is (ring high concept gong) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but cyberpunk.

This is a great opening frame, and worth emulating in beginning a novel.

  • It opens on action.  Not just action, but conflict.  Shooting.
  • It opens on character; we get a close-up of the main character, and she looks interesting.
  • It opens in character; we get one character's thoughts, and that immediately tells us who the protagonist is.
  • It puts the protagonist immediately in danger, generating sympathy and interest.  Will she be shot? Will she survive the fall?
Objectively speaking, this image tells us very little.  The character in the image might be a villain, might be evil, might be in the very act of shooting Nelson Mandela or Elvis Presley or both, we don't really know.  But  by craft, the writer and visual artists have made us find this character interesting and sympathetic and given us the immediate desire to know what happens next.

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