For this week’s column, I thought I’d take a look at how to start a novel. It’s February, spring is in the air and with new growth taking place, what better time to look at how you begin to sow the seeds of your next story.
- https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-start-writing-a-novel-db9788a8295f – How to Start Writing a Novel: This first article comes from The Writing Cooperative and is a guest post by Tim Hawken. He says he’s often asked what process he uses to write a book and has outlined his personal tips. These include deciding on an idea, a location, getting to know your characters, and then formulating all of this into a 3-act story. He also discusses themes, creating a chapter summary, and the importance of your opening lines. There is some great advice in this five-minute read.
- https://thejohnfox.com/2016/11/how-to-start-a-novel/ – 25 Terrible Ways to Start a Novel: This second article is from BookFox and it looks at the 25 mistakes you should avoid when writing a novel. The mistakes include starting before the beginning of the story, not introducing your main character straight away, introducing too many characters at the start, and not creating conflict on the first page. He also talks about the reader and what they want as well as the importance of choosing the right POV. There is so much valuable information to take away from this article.
- https://jerichowriters.com/start-writing-a-novel/ – Starting a Novel? Here are the 10 Things to do Right Away: Next up is this excellent guide from Jericho Writers that looks at how to write a novel in 10 steps. It includes information on planning, building characters, creating the setting, the inciting incident, how to pinpoint the key dramatic moments, your ending, the mood and voice of the story, point of view, and the importance of secondary characters. Each section is elaborated on with some great examples from successful books too.
- https://insights.bookbub.com/start-novel-bang-hook-readers/ – How to Write a Good Hook & Start Your Novel with a Bang: This is a guest post on the BookBub website by Sara Shepard that is well worth taking the time to read. We all know that attention spans are not what they used to be, and she tells you how to ensure readers will keep turning the pages of your book. She talks about the opening line, why the story should begin with a life-changing moment, how important characters are, and the setting of the inciting incident. There are 12 great tips included in this article. My favourite is about ending your first chapter on a cliff hanger which ensures that readers will turn the page.
- https://nybookeditors.com/2016/12/start-already-start-novel/ – Start It Already: How To Start Your Novel: This article comes from the NY Book Editors website and details four things you must do. The first of these being to make sure your story starts with action. It also talks about getting the first draft down because this is your basic guide for the story. There’s a section about prologues, and some information on description. The article ends with some additional resources that you may find useful too.
- https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/how-to-start-a-novel-right-5-great-tips – How to Start a Novel Right: 5 Great Tips: The final article for this week comes from Writer’s Digest and it’s all about tips to getting your novel off to a great start. The first of these is ensuring that you include a number of elements in the first fifth of your story, such as your main character, a disturbance in their life, the things at stake, and that the character has conflict they must overcome. Tip 2 talks about backstory and provides an example. Tip 3 looks at the use of sensory details and again includes details as well as a link to a further resource on using sensory details in your writing. Also included in this article is information on secondary characters and their role.
I hope you enjoyed the links today and I look forward to bringing you some more Really Useful Links next week. If there is a topic that you would like to see covered, get in touch and I will see what I can do.
(c) Amanda J Evans