(Dapto, New South Wales, Australia)
Question: I struggle to open the very beginning of my novel; the first chapter. I have been to many websites that say that the first chapter has to contain some kind of luring conflict, or the first sentence has to be unexpected. Any words of advice?Answer:
You do want to get the reader involved in the story right away so they want to keep reading, and that means making the story immediately interesting. Generally that means starting with 1) An intriguing voice or character, 2) an event that is a meaningful change (something significant happens), or preferably 3) both.
It's your choice whether you start with an event from ...
1. The overall throughline (the inciting incident)
2. The main character's throughline (showing how he/she tackles a problem).
3. The impact character throughline (how this character demonstrates a different way of tackling a problem).
4. The relationship throughline, establishing the starting point for the key relationship.
Don't get too hung up on the first sentence. You've got a lot of sentences to write, and you will be revising later. It's best to just get the ball rolling in the first draft.