Monday, March 21, 2011

A sense of place – starting with location

There are lots of ways of starting a book and one way of starting a book is with location. I like being immersed in my surroundings in the first couple of paragraphs when in a book and find it very effective.

Here’s a few examples…

The first example is from Kimberley Lang’s What happens in Vegas…
That was an actual mirrored disco ball spinning over a lighted dance floor. Hundreds of sweaty bodies crowded the dance floor, moving to a techno dance mix, and the bass line thumped like a heartbeat. This club-The Zoo- had strobe lights, LED-lit jungle vines hanging from the ceiling and zebra-striped furniture. This place took tacky to a whole new level.

Next, from Kate Hardy’s Good Girl or Gold-Digger?

Someone really had broken into the fairground museum. Several people-and pretty drunk, too, judging by the number of smashed bottles around the gallopers and the vomit sprayed nearby. Yobs who’d thought it would be a laugh to cut off the horses’ tails and spray-paint obscene graffiti along their sides. And they’d used the café as a coconut shy and lobbed stones through the plate glass, wrecking it.

Finally, to show that I really like opening a story this way, here’s a location passage a couple of paragraphs in from the start of my current wip.

Grey clouds blackened, swelling with rain. A low rumble, then the heavens opened, dashing a fierce quiver of angry rain arrows towards the group huddled next to the open grave. In an instant, a flurry of umbrellas soared skywards, painting the monochrome scene with colour.

What's your favorite way of opening a story?


Maya Blake said...

I'm partial to a bit of action myself, Sally but I don't mind a bit of scene setting too. Love your first para ;)

Sutton Fox said...

Great first para, Sally. The imagery is so vivid, I could see the umbrellas popping open, one after the other.

I'm with Maya though, I prefer the action to grab me first.

Sally Clements said...

Love action starts too... will go find some (rustle rustle)

Romy Sommer said...

I find it interesting that a description can also carry a fair amount of emotion/opnion, setting the scene way beyond the physical.
In all three examples above we really get a sense of how the setting is affceting the main character before we've even met them.