How to start a novel? The great question.
Beginnings are never easy. If we talk about writing a novel, much less so.
In Spain, more than 80,000 books are published per year (data from 2019) and readers know nothing about the vast majority of them.
Why am I telling you this?
Because if you are lucky enough that your book catches the reader’s attention, your beginning of the novel may be an essential part of the purchase.
I propose the following exercise: analyze how you started your novel, if you read the first two sentences in a bookstore… would you want to buy it?
If you have doubts about how to start your literary project or want to know if you are on the right path, keep reading and discover how NOT to start your novel.
Start earlier than necessary.
Don’t waste time giving the reader a ton of context or information that pertains to your story or
character’s past. You need a conflict and you need to introduce it as soon as possible. The reader wants to immerse themselves in your character’s story, not the context around it.
talk about time
Is there a worse way to start a novel?
In Spanish, we use the expression “talking about time” when we want to refer to an insubstantial conversation or one of those in which we don’t know what to say. Do you want to start your novel like this? I don’t believe it.
Unless time is essential to the scene or your story, avoid it. You will only bore your reader.
Start with a description
Talking about boring principles. There is nothing worse than starting to read a novel that begins with a description. I don’t care what city your protagonist lives in; I don’t care what his job is like or what he wears. I want to know about him or her. What problem awaits you. Focus on what’s
important. Descriptions can come later.
Start with a dialogue
Who is the person speaking? What role does he have in the story? Is she the protagonist? Is this
conversation important to the rest of the novel? Mystery is an important part of any fantasy writing, as long as it is used correctly.
The main problem with starting a novel with dialogue is the complete lack of context. This will force the reader to continue reading to get their bearings and although it may be a quick start, it may
confuse your reader to the level of not wanting to continue reading.
Your main character wakes up
The cliché of clichés and a brand of a new writer.
Your novel should begin in a way that is exciting, quirky, or at least interesting enough for your reader to continue reading. Is there anything less interesting than waking up one morning after a completely peaceful night?
If, even above all, your character wakes up to the sound of the alarm clock… You are in serious trouble and on the right path to boring your reader.
One of the best tips is to learn from others. A writer is not made without reading, so he reads novels and looks at how other writers have started their Outsource eBook Writing. Ask yourself why their beginnings work or what you like about them. Investigate.
Starting a novel in the correct way is not an exact science and you surely know novels that begin in one of the ways that I have mentioned before and are still a success.
However, my main advice is to keep in mind that the first chapter is essential when a reader buys or reads your book and hence the importance of starting it correctly.