Here is my standard approach to storytelling, no punches pulled, no holding back. Start Normal, Get Crazy. Sounds odd, I’m sure, but it’s more common than you might think–and I can prove it with one picture:
Look at Luke Skywalker. We know he’s on Tatooine–the farthest point from the bright center of the universe–but without seeing the twin suns, he’s simply a young man, by himself, looking into the distance. It’s a normal thing for a normal person to do. The Force, the Rebellion, droids, the Millenium Falcon, those are all elements that either haven’t shown up or aren’t significant at this moment.
It’s a very normal thing.
Aside from the explosive beginning, Star Wars is about a young man setting out into a larger world, trying to deal with his father’s legacy.
That’s why we can relate to it. All of us have set out into a larger world at some point in our lives. We all, to varying degrees, deal with the legacies of our parents, mother and father alike. We’ve all discovered things, learned new skills, make new friends, and struggled against a world that seems too big for us from time to time.
WithStar Wars, George Lucas starts with a very normal person in Luke, and uses him to take us, the audience, on a journey to see amazing things and unreal sights.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a story that doesn’t do something similar. All the best stories to it to some degree or another. Fringe introduces us to Olivia Dunham when she’s lying in bed with her lover. Mistborn: The Final Empire starts with Kelsier having a casual conversation. Characters do normal things to take us to abnormal, unreal, and crazy places.
Start Normal, Get Crazy. It’s the only way.