start

This may be the hardest step in writing your novel: getting started.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Begin on the day everything changes for the main character. Give us a taste of what her normal life is like, then as quickly (and smoothly) as possible, introduce the story problem. If you can do this by the end of chapter one, that would be best.

2. Introduce as few characters as possible. Any more than a handful of people running around in chapter one risks losing the reader.

3. Don’t tell us anything before we need to know it… 

4. But establish the rules as soon as possible. If this is a book about ice dragons, then ice dragons ought to make an appearance or be referenced before chapter one ends. At the same time, we don’t need to know the hero’s entire royal lineage in chapter one; that can come out later, preferably in a scene. Stick to only the most crucial pieces of information in the first few pages.

5. Begin with the main character doing something. It’s best if this thing is somehow related to the main story problem or at least a subplot. Then make sure that whatever you choose, it’s relevant to the story. A guy cleaning a sniper rifle on page one better shoot it eventually.

Ready for more? Download this free PDF to get your creative mind to work on starting strong, keeping momentum, and writing a classic!