I often write short stories (page or two long, or at least until I lose interest in my practice characters, practice plot, etc.) and get to thinking about the best (and worst) ways to begin a piece. Book, blog post, newspaper article... The list goes on and on. But, of course, I'm speaking more toward novels.
So, the best way to start your tale? Or, rather, the way you NEVER want to...
DON'T START YOUR NOVEL WITH YOUR CHARACTER WAKING UP.
Don't. Don't EVER. If there's one piece of writing advice I've seen everywhere, from literally every agent that's ever spoken on the topic to other writers' blogs, it's that you do NOT ever want to start your novel with someone waking up. Why? It's a cop-out. No, really. As other agents have said in one way or another, surely there's another way you can start your story. Surely. And trust me, it'll do you loads to make this fix. In fact, agent Mary Kole once said that if your story does not begin with someone waking up, you're already a caliber above 50% of the submissions she sees. This, of course, does not determine whether or not she chooses one submission over the other, but it most definitely places you in a better light, so-to-speak.
In other news, I recently began The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. And I'm not lying when I say it's AMAZING. I can't put it down. And the weird thing is, it's a war story. I don't like to read about war when it so abundantly (and unfortunately) happens around the world, for death is not exactly a happy topic, but it's so heartfelt and sincere a work that I just cannot get away from it. Go check it out from the library or read some reviews online. You'll know what I'm talking about.
Well, that's it for now. =) (Oh, sidenote: I don't exactly know why the date on my last post says April 4th, because I most definitely posted it around the 20th. Just something that was bothering me, and something that I wanted to make note of. Hopefully this post has the date right...even though if it doesn't it's my fault in the first place, for I should be checking things more thoroughly; today's May 22nd.)
I leave with this unusual fact (who doesn't like random, unusual facts?):
When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second! (http://www.strangefacts.com/facts1.html)