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When beginning a thriller, do you start the first chapter with action from the protagonist, antagonist, "villian if they're not the antaganist", or does it matter which character you begin your story with?


Truthfully, this is largely a matter of personal preference.  You can do it either way, and it can be just fine.  That being said, there are a couple things to keep in mind.

Beginning your story with a good action scene is very likely to grab your reader's attention from the start, and that's never a bad thing.

And whichever character you choose to show first, you'll want to present them in the way you want the character to be thought of by the reader.  In other words, if you want the reader to like a character, show him/her in a positive light.  There are exceptions, of course, but they require a pretty solid reason for going against it.

Hope that helps.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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