by Shelt Garner
First, please read this carefully: I fucking don’t care what you do with your novel or how you do it, just tell a great story.
Now, with that out of the way, at least let me give you my reasoning for suggesting that you should at least hold fuck off for a tiny little bit before you have your character fuck each others brains now, no matter how much “character work” and MFA person may tell you is possible.
In general, from my casual study of successful mainstream novels — or, at least, specifically thrillers — you shouldn’t start you novel with a murder or a sex scene.
With any great story, you (often, not always) start off slow in a way that introduces setting and character. Then, once your readers have their bearings, you can murder and fuck as much as you like.
But that’s just my opinion.
I’ve been writing my first novel for years now and, along the way, I’ve both done a lot of reading and come up with some really strong opinions about what makes for a “great story.”
But there is to fucking revealed truth about what makes a great story. If you can tell a great story by having a murder or a fuck session on the first page — have at. Please. I want you to.
I’m just giving you a rule of thumb that is based on some sort of sense of what makes for a good story. In MY OPINION, if you open your novel with a fuck session…the audience (or at least ME) doesn’t give a shit. Who are these people? Why are they fucking? Why should I care?
But I’m not perfect and I do not have some sort of revealed truth about storytelling that I’ve brought down from Mt. Sini. You do you. Just, as I said, tell a great story.