As a younger writer, I often find myself waffling between others' opinions and advice. Although these O's and A's all have value, I've learned that not all should be applied to every situation. Didn't make them wrong, just not for me at that point in time.
So a while back I decided to give my current manuscript--completed except for word count...yes, I know that means it's not finished but it made me feel better--a facelift, a fresher beginning. But already GROUNDED in the manuscript's beginning, I wasn't able to clear my view to see new openings. Sure, I was latching onto my stagnant beginning like the pathetic ex-girlfriend. *Shrug*
Anyway, my grip loosened when I came across a post by Nathan Bransford and bookmarked it. In all his awesomeness, he highlighted opening scenes and even used a writer's work as an example. (Hotheads to the writer. Takes a lot of guts to get up on Nathan's stage. Although he's wonderful, he has like a bazzillion followers.) I found his calculations insightful, and he helped me find my equilibrium. He broke down opening scenes, honing in on mystery and dialog.
A reader must invest in the opening if he/she is expected to read past those crucial first pages. How does the writer elicit that response?
By giving just enough STABLE information about the story world and the main character, and how the two affect the other. There is a fine line, as Nathan explains more HERE. Too much information is overload, where not enough leaves too many questions.
My master plan, after reading that, was to write down as many details about my MC and then her 'current' world as I could. (I'm an over-planner, so there was quite the list.) But this was good. I learned to prioritize. I used different colored highlighters, grouping details by importance.
I know it sounds stupid, even silly, but I needed to see what was pivotal at the opening...not the beginning, which happens to come before the opening scene. Ahh...
The beginning is where you birthed your idea, your story world, your main and supporting characters, their dislike, their backstory, etc... It's the place you get excited about the story you have to tell. It's not the opener. I had never noticed that before. Once I did, I began to feel the GROUNDED STABILITY I needed to write a proper beginning to tell my tale.
Have you ever dickered on where and how to being your story? How did you work it out?