Part 2: Where?

Imagine all of the events mentioned in a book, then imagine those events placed in chronological order. Where in this timeline does the author actually start the telling of the story?

The start can be the first event to happen chronologically:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

But that's rare.

Part 1 of this web essay was about how to start; Part 2 is about where to start (on that timeline).

Section 5: Relegating Events Into the Past

Wherever a story starts in that timeline (unless it's the first event on the timeline), the events before that moment are relegated to the past, and the only way to describe them is either as the past (someone remembering or reporting) or actually timejumping into the past (telling that past event as if it has become the "now" of the story).


Your goal might reasonably be to sell your book and make money. If so, a reasonable place to your start is at the most interesting scene, or at least the most interesting scene near the start. That might relegate a somewhat large chunk of your story to the past.

But it's also reasonable to talk about the goal of making the reader's exerience as worthwhile as possible.

In any case, what are the consequences of relegating an event to the past?