TFTSP: Waking Up

Posted on: September 5, 2023

Tips From The Slush Pile! (The slush is open, so you had to know this was coming…)
I’ve been told I include too many negative examples in my tips. Today, I’m taking a cliched opening (that I’ve already seen several times this week) and I’m gonna tell ya how to make it *not* cliche.
Cliche: Waking up.
Fix: Have them already in motion, doing something, making choices that might have consequences later. Much more interesting than finding out what color bedsheets they have.
Cliche: Waking up, not knowing where they are.
Fix: The disorientation of the moment isn’t all that interesting. Instead, have the character in motion, and seeing things around them that are unfamiliar. Give strange sights, smells, even tastes and touch.
Cliche: Waking up, not knowing where they are, and with no memory.
Fix: (And I am stifling my sigh here). Show the character days from when they woke up. Are they still struggling with the language? Have they had any memories flash? Have they been brought lower, like they had to resort to stealing to eat, even when their moral code says it’s wrong? Bring in conflict, which is also far more interesting that bedsheets.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

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