I learned a lot from Jeff Gerke’s The First 50 pages. But I’ve got a quibble, and one I’d love to discuss with my fellow writers.
Help your reader out. Just trot out a half-goblin in chainmail armor and a shield if this is a fantasy. Have someone make an arrest if this is a police story. Send in the clones. Part of your job in the first fifty pages is to orient your reader into what kind of story this is going to be.
While I took to heart his advice about establishing genre, era and setting in my opening scenes, I really struggled with the introduction of my near-future dystopia as a science fiction milieu. Space-settings and alien landscapes make this work easier for classic Science Fiction. But how does one go about setting the scene for a sci fi that is set in our world, and nearly our time?
My approach was to show the decay, to scan the camera across what is different, what has changed. I struggle with conveying the same information in the Uncounted storyline. It’s different, but oh-so-subtly so.
Let’s talk about it – how do you establish sci-fi genre in the opening scenes?