Friday, March 24, 2017

The Opening Crawl In Practice

As promised, this is the Opening Crawl in the current draft of Lacann Pell and the Blood Moon of Rammagar:

The Privy Wars are over. The Free Lords lost. The Solar Guard is gone. The Electoral Collage is abolished. Only the Usurper Vidun won. In the wake of the death of Duke Navare's death, most survivors ceased overt dissent for fear of retaliation. Those not willing to surrender went underground.

Young Duke Ireton, a Free Lord in exile, joined with a Privy Lord- Duke Farr. They cooperated on a course of action against The Usurper, starting with establishing a logistical network outside of the Usurper's control. Operating from a former Free Lord outpost never discovered during the war, the dukes and their chief allies organized their campaign and dispatched agents to execute it.

One mission is to establish sanctuaries beyond the Usurper's reach. The lost colony world of Rammagar promises to be such a world, if it still exists and if it remains inhabitable. Veteran scout, former Free Lord commando, and Ireton family retainer Lacann Pell traveled to Rammagar in one of Farr's shuttle accompanied only by a pair of automatons. Duke Ireton stands by awaiting Lacann's report.

There you are. The resemblance to what you see in a Star Wars film is deliberate, as was Lucas' use of this device being deliberate invocations of the serials of the 30s and 40s, summarizing what lead up to the events of that episode so if you missed them you weren't a ship out of water. If you're doing things that are fantastic, or you're looking to establishing a mood quickly, spending three fucking paragraphs setting it up isn't a bad thing.

Yes, even if you end up not using it in the final manuscript. Having that crystal-fucking-clear in your mind makes everything going forward easier, because when you cut immediately to the inciting incident (in media res) (which Blood Moon does, starting when Lacann arrives at Rammagar) you will know what to tell the reader and how to say it to hook them into your story as fast as your skills allow. (Ideally, with the first sentence.)

If you do use it, then going in media res is the go-to follow-up technique to use. No need to spend pages doing this when you can skip the boring shit and get on with the adventure that your reader is there for, and that's why I'm stomping about here- it's a very good tool to identify that point and get you (and your reader) there right away (and from there, for you the writer, to quickly outline the rest of your story and know where to do your beats and likely how and why to do so).

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