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Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

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22THE FIRST BOX: PART 1—THE SETUP

The first 20 to 25 percent of your story—the first of the four boxes—has a singular, critical mission: to set up everything that is to follow.

That context breaks down into a handful of important things Part 1 needs to accomplish, all under the umbrella of that singular mission. The mission is not to fully introduce the story’s main antagonistic force, but rather, to foreshadow it. If Part 1 does show antagonistic force at all, it shows only part of it, without explaining what it means. And it’s not to show the reader the big inciting incident in the first few pages—that’s called a hook, which is an important part of the setup.

Let’s look at an example. In the first few pages of a story we might see someone ...

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