I mentioned last week that I would like to write a Dungeons and Dragons novel, one about a nameless half-orc, and that I'd had some considerable difficulties in establishing an opening scene. This was in part because I was trying to have him remain nameless, and limit his speech patterns fairly heavily - a tricky combination.
But it was also because the best opening scene I'd come up with for him so far involved a confrontation in a tavern. And it was... well, it wasn't horrible. It did get things moving. And it got my half-orc introduced to the group he'd be traveling with, and willing to work with them in a way that basically made sense, or at least didn't strain the suspension of disbelief.
But this isn't a story that starts with a young halfbreed in search of adventure. This isn't the story of someone who knows how to be part of a group, or thinks that such a thing is possible at all. This isn't the story of the sort of person who can sit in a tavern in the late afternoon, drinking human-brewed ale, paying for it with money that he earned doing work on some of the outlying farms -- someone who can be ignored, if not accepted, as long as his money is good.
This is the story of someone who has fled his family and his tribe, someone who knows they will kill him if they find him. This is the story of a young man who escaped into the spring storms to keep them from being able to track him, and hiked to the one place where his family couldn't follow. This story doesn't begin with a friendly meeting or an aborted confrontation in a tavern (though I'm sure there will be one, sooner or later).
This story begins with a desperate young halfbreed on the run.