Does this sound familiar? How many stories did we read, that started with this line?
As previously reported, my outline is as complete as can be. I could wait until I have it reviewed, fixed, re-reviewed and fixed again and again before I start writing. To be honest (and why would I start a blog if I wasn’t going to be honest?), I cannot wait!
I might have to re-write every single word later, but I absolutely HAVE to start writing.
But here’s the crux of the matter. How do I start? How do you start your story? How do you start a novel?
- Here are a few questions for you:
1. Who is telling the story? Is it one of your characters? Is it an all-knowing entity? Is that person “reliable” (i.e. does he really know it all)?
2. When is this story taking place? Is the story unfolding to the reader in the present? Did the events in the story take place in the past? Are there other options? (The answer is yes)
3. How much information are you planning/willing to give the reader at this stage? about the characters? about the settings? other kind of info?
There are a bunch of questions I was, and still asking myself ever since I entertained the idea to write a novel. But I think the one question that I really have to answer soon is related to the hook.
The hook is that invisible element that a writer would plant into the first pages of a novel. The purpose of this element is to grab the reader’s attention as soon as possible, and attract his attention, perhaps even his commitment to continue reading.
Why would any sane person take a big pile of pages, thickly filled with text and dedicate time to read them?
Because they are interesting? Well, how would he know they’re interesting without reading them? A reader needs some motivation, encouragement. It is up to the writer to provide him with that.
Go back to some of the books you liked. These were normally books that you picked up and got sucked into them. “Fell in love at first sight” with them.
The reason you did was more than likely the hook. The hook could be very obvious. The writer could make a very clear promise that something is about to happen. Or it could be very subtle, where the text inclines that something is about to happen, is happening without really saying it.
Whatever the case is, there is always a reason why you picked up a book of 300 pages and more and kept on reading past the first couple of pages (Hopefully it has nothing to do with a school book report).
I have a couple of ideas regarding my own novel, and this decision is next on my to-do list. I might just write down three or five different options and test them on some people.
What do you think?
P.S. A newer version of the short story is imminent… Stay tuned 😉