April 13, 2010

How to Write A Great Beginning

I've posted on beginnings before, but it was mostly about How Not to Begin Your Novel. Since then, I've found some helpful sources that tell what you should do.

One thing I love about Darcy Pattison is the way things are spelled out so precisely. (I like it when people explain everyday processes into tiny, easy-to-digest pieces.) 12 Ways to Open Your Novel is no different. Seriously, it doesn't get any simpler than this. Here are literally 12 opening lines/techniques that have been successful in the past, complete with examples.

How To Write Your Novel's First Chapter according to C. Patrick Shultz:  POV, setting, a mystery, a fascinating character... these are all great ways to grab a reader. And you need to grab a reader quick.

James Scott Bell has a different approach to a similar task: to Grab Them On Page One, you need to start by stirring the pot. Start at the point where things change for the main character, with a disturbance.

Larry Brooks never ceases to impress. The Single Most Powerful Tool You'll Ever See that Fits on One Page is his fantastic list of must-haves for your story (which centers around how you begin, of course).

I hope these help you as much as they helped me.

2 comments:

dirtywhitecandy said...

I like Darcy's tutorials too. I posted a while ago on beginnings; so often we hear the advice to hit the gorund running, but often writers try so hard with the beginning that it doesn't accurately reflect what the rest of hte novel is like. Moral: if you have a pacy beginning, write a pacy book. If you have a more considered start (which is of course compelling), don't write a beginning that socks them between the eyes.

Emily Casey said...

Yeah, the consistency thing can be an issue. Thank goodness for revision!

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