Introducing Your Ancestor for the First Time
We mentioned that one of the crucial elements in your beginning scenes was to introduce your ancestor to the reader. In a story, like in life, first impressions are important.
Not identifying the protagonist ancestor clearly from the start can leave your reader confused and disinterested. Once you have captured their interest through an interesting ancestor, then they will be interested in hearing their story.
Therefore, it’s important in those opening scenes to have your protagonist ancestor front and centre.
The first and most obvious way many of you will want to introduce your ancestor is through physical description. Some of you will be a little concerned because you don’t have a physical description of your ancestor. Well, if you don’t have a physical description of your ancestor you’re in luck. We put far too much weight on our ancestor’s physical description. A little is good, a lot is not necessarily better. Physical description can hold a lot of weight if it means something, an ancestor with a limp, a missing arm or suffers from blindness. However, physical description is not the only way or even the best way to connect your reader with their ancestor.
Your reader will be more drawn in by your ancestor through action or dialogue. Revealing an ancestor’s station in society, details such as their occupation or interests are also alternatives to help you throw the doors open to that first introduction of your ancestor.
Instead of relying on the physical description to introduce your ancestor consider starting with demonstrating your ancestor in action. But not just any action, an action that shows their personality.
The introduction of your ancestor is the perfect opportunity to reveal what your ancestor is wanting or trying to achieve and what is likeable about him or her that your readers are is likely to connect with. Think about how you can introduce your ancestor that shows her spirit and depicts her doing something that portrays her personality.
Also, consider how the turning point that will end the first quarter of your story can also help to reveal a lot about your ancestor as they face a challenging decision and change in their life.
You should give particular attention and thought to the introduction of all of your primary characters. Whether they be antagonists or allies, note how you introduce them to the reader so that their personality shines through and not just their physical characteristics.