Welcome back Winged Readers! So, I have been looking through my past posts, and I realize that I don’t actually post much about writing. At all. Well, it’s time to change that! For today’s post, I will be discussing a struggle for someone who is thinking about starting a novel. I’m talking about finding that perfect beginning for your story.
He who has begun has half done
Sadly, this saying is not as true as one would hope. But, it gets the right message across. To finish, you must first start. Which is the hardest part of just about doing anything. But, especially writing. When you have a story idea, the hardest thing to do can be to find the bravery to write an imperfect first sentence to get the story moving.
Sometimes your first sentence will be great! Perfect! Amazing! Other times…not so much.
You can begin writing one of two ways. You can either….
a) Write down the first thing that comes to your mind. You read it, and it conveys nothing! It is not perfect, it is not an eye catcher and no one would continue after reading that. You try again. Same result. And again. And again, till you’ve been at it for a full hour and you have not written one thing. You decide to give up on this story.
b) You write the first thing that comes to your mind. You know it’s not great, but it (and the rest of your precious novel) can be fixed up during editing.
I personally prefer option b, don’t you? That’s the great thing about first drafts. They can be messy and horrible and need some TLC ASAP! But, you have begun. And now that you have begun, you must……
“Wait! Rose, this is great and all, with your message about beginnings, but I don’t know where to begin!”, You tell me.
Don’t worry, reader! I can help you with that too! The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you start. You can start at the point of highest action (AKA, the climax) and then go back to how you got there. Or, you can go in chronological order, starting out your novel at where you feel is the very beginning, not, for example, in the middle of the action. Or, you can do my personal favorite, which is starting out with an event that happened way in the past and will be important. These are usually found in the prologue. But, it’s up to you!
“Okay,” you are now saying, “Now I have learned that it is up to me what place to start, and that my first sentence might be super horrid, but I still don’t know how to start!”
The simple answer to this question is to make the reader want to read more. You want your first sentence to be a question, or make them wonder, or give them a blank statement. The readers should want to know where they are, why they are there, who they are with, and what is happening.
For inspiration, I will give you a few first sentences and then my comments on them. *Runs to go gather books*
Alright, here we go:
I know I’m not an ordinary 10 year old kid.
–Wonder By R.J. Palacio Page 3
This is one of those statements. It is 10 words, but it means so much. Why is this character not ordinary? Has anything happened to make him that way? I want to read on!
There is a right way to do things and a wrong way, if you’re going to run a hotel in a smugglers’ town.
GreenGlass House By Kate Milford Page 1
First of all, what?! Who is running this hotel, why in a smugglers’ town, what makes this town a smugglers’ town, and what do they mean by a “right” and a “wrong” way? This first sentence is full of questions that need answers.
“Goodbye, school shoes,” said Tuesday Mcgillycuddy, dropping her battered old lace-ups into a bin full of lunch wraps and orange peel.
Finding Serendipity By Angelica Banks Page 1
This is kind of calming and familiar first sentence. We can relate to this. But, why is she throwing away her school shoes? And what does this have to do with the promised fantasy novel that is this book? All good questions.
Are you inspired yet? I hope you are!
I hope I gave you a good starting place for beginning your novel. Now, the next step is to continue! You must continue writing your novel, a little bit each day. And that, is how you will finish.
So, I hope you liked this post! Are you writing a novel? Do your plot your novels? Which was your favorite first sentence? I would love to know!