I am a few thousand words into my newest draft and starting to question if I picked the right beginning. As usual, when I get back into the habit of writing regularly, I have also gotten back into the habit of reading about how to write.
There are two very core ideas I've come across that I really like the sound of, but that seem to conflict with each other.
On the one hand, the three act structure says we should start with exposition. We should introduce the players, introduce the setting, and set the stage for the conflicts that are to follow. Looking at the books I'm reading now and have read in the past, especially fantasy books (my genre of choice as a writer), I can clearly see an exposition period in all of them. The characters are introduced in their element, and are allowed to live a few days or at least a few hours of their normal lives before things pick up.
On the other hand, you're supposed to start things with a bang. The first sentence of your book is supposed to hook the reader for the rest of the page, the first page hook the reader for the rest of the chapter, and the first chapter hook the reader for the rest of the book. Things have to get off the ground, now, if you want to have any chance of keeping a reader around long enough to finish this paragraph, never mind your 100,000 word novel.
The two seem incompatible for me. I went for the latter approach in this revision, but I feel like there are just too many questions unanswered. On the other hand, if I went for the former approach, I would be thinking "who would even get this far?" by the time I hit the first "disaster" of the three act structure.
Is there a happy middle ground?