The Beginning

by Tiegan
(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.

Comments for The Beginning

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Oct 03, 2012
I am too much information
by: collette Anderson

Good afternoon Glen:

This is Collette Anderson here and I have a situation (Not the one they have in Jerseyshore) but I have too much information and I am losing my steam to complete my novel.

I go online seeking help and I get you and others and now I am overwhelm with the stuff. I have so much around me that I get lost in the paper shuffling crap.

Suggestions please are welcome.

Thank you so much

Collette aka Cody (I am a girl girl I like guys but my aunt nickname me this because I am butt wild in personality but sexy how bout that one for your caps feather.)

Oct 03, 2012
by: Glen


I think you know the answer: step back from the pile of info. Review the story idea you have so far. Remind yourself what made you passionate about it in the first place.

You have to take tips and advice sparingly. Use them when you need a bit of inspiration or a way out of a dilemma that gets you writing again.

Don't fall into the trap of worrying so much about following all the rules and contradictory advice that you get paralyzed. (You can use it later, after your first draft is finished.)

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