Bad Writing Advice: Never Start with Dialogue

Have you ever heard the advice "never start a book or story with dialogue"? I give you Exhibit A, totally refuting that advice: "Sex with Camel" by Joyce Carol Oates. Yes, THE Joyce Carol Oates.


It is true that you have to be careful about what dialogue you do use to start your piece. You want something compelling that doesn't require knowledge about the speaker to understand it or care about what they're saying.

"Lots of things are overrated. Like suicide," certainly fits the bill. I know nothing about the character, but I want to know why they're talking about suicide. I read on.

Mission accomplished.

So, the next time someone gives you this advice, simply smile and say, "Really? Tell that to Joyce Carol Oates."


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