Simply stating the problem in the first sentence immediately takes readers to the story's emotional heart. Vans Shoes "He did not want to be a wringer," Jerry Spinelli writes in Wringer, about a boy destined to wring pigeons' necks in a local event. Many authors use this technique: "All I've ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone." (Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen.) "I am Mary. I am a witch." (Witch Child, Celia Rees.) "Chapter One: Summer 1849 - In which I come to California, fall down a hill, and vow to be miserable here.
Cheap Vans Some writers hate prologues, but I say if it works for your story, use it. A prologue can help readers feel how desperately a protagonist does not want something to happen, as Jerry Spinelli does in Wringer. It can help readers understand what a character is about to lose, as Pam Munoz Ryan does beautifully in Esperanza Rising. And it can set a tone, as Gary Paulsen does in the marvelous prologue to The Winter Room.
The problem? Too many crucial events were lost in back story. My new prologue is set in 1861, when Hannah's father announces that he's joining the army, and it allows readers to meet Ben while his relationship with Hannah is still good.Finally, I worked on a first sentence that could reveal both Hannah's conflict with her father and her strong sense of place.