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Cliche ways to start a novel?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Burst, May 23, 2012.

  1. Burst

    Burst Scribe

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    I was wondering what you would consider cliche when it comes to starting that first chapter of your novel? I read somewhere that starting your novel with your character waking up is cliche and I haven't read any novels with a beginning like that... Have you?
     
  2. Yes, Roger Zelanzy started his amber series with the main character waking up in a hospital not knowing who he was.

    I'm sure I've read a few more, but they were not as memorable obviously.
     
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    It was a dark and stormy night.
     
  4. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

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    A long time ago...

    Actually, I think one cliche I've seen a little too much is that the first chapter is an unexplained episode that precedes the rest of the story by years, and the rest of the book unravels the mystery. As with anything to do with writing, it is ok if done well.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I hear that going "My name is so-and-so, and...." tends to be looked down on as a way to start a novel.
     
  6. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    ...as are starting with a dream sequence or a flashback.
     
  7. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    That's what I was going to sayyyy D:
     
  8. ArielFingolfin

    ArielFingolfin Troubadour

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    I've noticed that a lot of fantasy novels begin with a prologue of some sort detailing previous events. Which is alright I guess, but I can't help but wonder if that's not just taking the easy way out.
     
  9. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Starting out with the action packed battle with the never heard of before monsters can be cliche.
     
  10. Burst

    Burst Scribe

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    Man there's so many cliche ways.... it's almost irritating..and I've done them all.. <.< this is sad.
     
  11. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Just because they are cliché, doesn't mean it can't work...

    It was a dark and stormy night, the peals of thunder overpowering all sound in the grungy alley behind the Matador Club in downtown Chicago. A woman in a red dress and broad hat stands looking down at the body of a man that until recently was her husband, a smoking revolver clenched in her fist and tears of pain stream down her cheeks.
     
  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Didn't really capture my attention to be honest. I have to agree that an opening cliche should be avoided at all costs.
    It's one of the surest way to lose interest before any merits of your story unfold.
     
  13. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    You certainly proved your point, but I feel the need to critique this. XD It's just that you wouldn't have had to tell the audience so soon that it was her hubby. Show, don't tell. Then again, this is an example and I probably shouldn't take it so seriously. I'm probably making myself look like a douche. Wheee~ *is shot*
     
  14. "A dark and stormy night" in particular should probably be avoided, since it's a well-known "bad cliché". ;)
     
  15. Helen

    Helen Sage

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    Many "cliches" will actually help you write your story. Techniques are used often because they have purpose.

    Is bad-guy-breaks-out-of-jail a cliche? Well, that's used in Halloween and Men In Black III.

    Is waking-up a cliche? Well, that's used in Aliens and Groundhog Day
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
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