Start at the action!


I’ve started a new book that you get to hear about for the next few weeks, Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler, and so far it’s great.

The story opens with an immortal character sensing another character with some kind of powers, seeking her out and meeting her. She leaves her village behind and follows him off to new things.

What I like about this is it’s not an ‘origins story’ as so many super-powered character stories turn out to be. We don’t have to read about the characters living their normal lives for chapters on end, slowly discovering their strange abilities. When we meet the characters in this story, they are already hundreds of years old and very experienced and powerful, ready to go off and do interesting things.

The problem with all these origin stories, is the story we want to read doesn’t start with discovering your powers and figuring out how to use them, and so on. The interesting part starts when the character meets, and/or decides to defeat the enemy or achieve some goal. Very often we get stuck with the first third or more of the story being totally cut-able, and the actual narrative beginning later.

Start writing where the story starts. The reader doesn’t have to learn about the character’s abilities at the same time the character does. I find it much more fun to have a fully developed character that I learn about as I see her encounter different obstacles and situations, instead of one that needs to learn about themselves for a huge portion of the story.

Looking forward to more of this book, I’m sure you’ll hear more from me about it!


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