Beginnings can make or break a story. Writing a beginning is tricky as you want to offer backstory, introduce your characters, set up the central conflict, and all without overloading your readers with too much information.
Today marks the 2 year anniversary of this blog. Hooray! I am taking the time to reflect on beginnings.
I am naturally a wordy writer. The beginning of Kass’s story two years ago was difficult to me. Honestly, I do semi-cringe when I go back and read the opening of KCLKF. I wrote well over the typical word length of SimLit, I had loads of pictures, introduced many characters, and I had a ridiculous amount of author notes following the post. I am my own worst critic. I’ve added and subtracted things in retrospect (which is okay, and I think all of you have forgiven me, but it still makes me cringe a little). I wished I had taken better pictures and written a little less detail or at least broken the prologue up into parts. All in all, I know I’ve improved, and you have to start somewhere.
One of the beginnings I am most proud of is the opening of Secret Identity of Jessica Rossum. True, the post still sported tons of pictures, but I thought my writing was just enough to convey backstory and to do so in an interesting way.
After I wrote the prologue to Letters from Lizzie, I was pretty proud of myself also. I felt like the writing was powerful. However, I went a completely different direction than intended and now I feel like that segment is a stand-alone story. The tone of LFL changes in Lizzie’s first letter, and you can see the age difference in her language and topic choice.
Today as I celebrate the 2 year anniversary of this blog, I wanted to share a few SimLit stories (and there are so many that I cannot possibly share them all right here) with beginnings I really enjoyed. In no particular order…
**You can read the forums post (and discussion questions) here**
- The first few chapters of the Edith Prescott Mystery Series by Rachel were awesome. First of all, mysteries are my favorite genre. I was excited to see someone else out there writing SimLit mysteries. Second, I loved the opening line – the intrigue – “I woke myself up with my screaming, and found that I was drenched in sweat.” Also, I loved how Rachel made use of everyday ordinary items to enhance the story (i.e. the vase in chapter thirteen). I also liked how she wasn’t afraid to write things “off screen” and describe them in writing like in chapter five with the note and chapter seven with the murder. Overall, I was hooked by chapter five. You can read the story here.
- I was totally sucked in Trip/Infra Green’s Eight Cicadas story from the beginning. Joanna was an intriguing character from the start, and I loved her porcelain skin. And great opening line “They called me the luckiest girl in Twinbrook.” I really wanted to know what was going on with the world and the characters, and I liked the use of description. By Annette’s arrival in Twinbrook, I was hooked. I also liked the worldbuilding that happened early on (and later) [and we all know I’m a huge fan of worldbuilding]. :p I liked how this story doesn’t fit the stereotypical rags-to-riches kind-of tale we often see in SimLit. Annette is rough around the edges, but insanely likable, especially over time. You can read the story here.
- Zahra’s Babies was my introduction to the 100 Baby Challenge. After reading other baby challenges, this one by LauraEliza is by far my favorite. While I knew what was going to happen – many many babies wise – I really liked the unique feel of the opening. The opening line – “I can’t believe I’m here” – made me wonder where is here, where was there, and how did she get there? And is this “can’t believe” in a shocking sense or an exciting sense? Zahra’s initial naivete is charming, and she is intriguingly introspective. You can read the story here.
- I loved the opening of blythelyre’s Torres Legacy. The first chapter title – It All Began With a Tree – intrigued me followed by the opening line “There was a strange man in her yard.” I also liked this idea of the pending supernatural legacy, and I must say this one is smart, entertaining, heartrending, and well written. You can read the story here.
- RipuAncestor’s opening to The Chysanthemum Tango immediately sparked my interest. The opening lines, starting with “There are many ways to begin a story,” broke through the fourth wall and there was something refreshing about that in SimLit. From the beginning, Ripu’s writing is sharp and clever, her use of description is enviable, and her colorful, quirky characters are lovable. You can read the story here.
- For a fantastical SimLit story, I’d recommend caterpillarsims Summerdream. The worldbuilding is incredible, the use of CC is phenomenal, and the story line is intriguing. And dragons… I can’t say no to dragons, especially in SimLit. FYI, the story is NSFW with a good bit of adult content, but well worth the read. You can read the story here.
- Lovesstorms opens the story The Ramsey Wishacy with an appearance by the kraken (first story I’ve seen to make use of this Sims feature). I really enjoyed how the founder’s traits and interests were cleverly introduced in the flow of the story. Plus this is one well-done wishacy challenge. You can read the story here.
- The Blount Legacy is one of my favorite #buildnewcrest challenge stories. I like the nontraditional feel of this challenge story and the opening line had me hooked – “Where is Creators name am I?” I also enjoyed the snarky dialogue between Ms. Blount and the Creator. You can read the story here.
- One of the things I loved about the beginning of the Blakesley Legacy by Emily Anne/Dancer-freak effectively illustrates some of the harsh realities of our founder’s homelessness. The opening line sets the tone brillantly- “She was miserable, lying on a park bench pondering every poor choice that she had ever made.” Plus Charlotte, the founder, is a redhead and of course, I’m biased. I think redhaired Sims are gorgeous! 😀 You can read the story here.
- Recently, I read the chapter by scribal_goddess – Instant Messages in a Bottle – and I was thoroughly impressed. The chapter is part of the Pen Pal Project over on the forums and a query for MedleyMisty’s Seth character. I must say this story probably has one of the best opening lines I have read in SimLit – ” I am being kept by a house with yellow walls and a smug porch.” I got simultaneous excited and creepy chills. You can read the story here.
Pipe in if you like. What are some of your favorite SimLit beginnings and opening lines? When you think back to the beginnings of your own SimLit writing experience, what do you like/dislike?