Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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The first 1000 words

Over on rec.arts.sf.compostion, Elf Sternberg posted a list of the things he thought a story should do in the first 1000 words. Despite initial scepticism, quite a few newsgroup denizens discovered that they had done most, if not all, of what he suggested. Here's what I said about the novel I'm working on at the moment:

Having checked the first 1000 words of the WIP, I find that I have introduced the 2 main characters (plus the baby, the cat and the mountain), established that this is a world containing orcs, dwarfs and elves as well as humans, and had the young couple arrive at the hostel to find that all isn't as they had expected. The awful state of the building is only the first of their problems, but it does lead in to the main plot of the mountain being for sale.

Returning to Elf's original notes...

In the first 1000 words you must introduce the protagonist,

Yes, done that.

allude to the adversary, suggest or present the conflict,

There isn't an adversary as such and we don't get to meet the farmer
who's selling the mountain for another few chapters. At the moment the
sale hasn't been announced, so the protags couldn't know about it. But
I have mentioned the mountain's unease, hinting at future change.

demonstrate that the character may be in danger,

No one ends up in physical danger in this novel; it's not that kind of
book. However, it is obvious that they have let themselves in for more than
they bargained for.

foreshadow crucial moments including possibly the climax,
establish central storyline

I may have done this. The mountain is uneasy in the prologue and it
does have to cope with change at the end. Also that is the central

demonstrate your ability to write action,

Well, I hope I've demonstrated my ability to write. Again it's not
an action-packed novel. That is to say there's little or no violence,
though a lot happens, some of it involving action in the sense of
people moving around. *g*

make the reader smile or laugh at least once.

As it's a comedy, I do sincerely hope I've done that. Otherwise the
reader won't carry on.

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