From a blank page to a first chapter

Sometimes trying to get that hook can make us drag ourselves along. So hopefully you have an outline, a plot all figured out, and the ending in mind. I’ve discovered that the best way to go from a blank page to a completed first chapter is a few simple steps.. Well maybe not that simple, but I’ll try to keep them simple. This is how I decide where to start every time I start a new book.

Firstly consider what type of book you are writing. Is it an adventure? Start with action right off the bat. Is it a historical? The focus should be the setting of era. Swash buckling good time? Pirates, lots and lots of pirates. Once you’ve established your genre and the main focus you want to really get into the next step is deciding where to start,

Prologue or just starting into the book? The next step is to decide if you want to do a prologue or not. Prologues usually happen for a few reasons. To establish something long before the beginning of the book. To show a point of view of someone besides the main character (particularly if it is first person, or third person singular main character). You want to give a back story to the character or story that is a president for the premise of the book. However, if you write it and feel like, oh, I don’t need to call this a prologue, because it flows right into chapter 2. Then you need a chapter 1, not a prologue.

If you have multiple characters, who is the best character to start? If you only have one character, don’t worry about this part. Of all your characters who could set the pace? Is it funny or serious? You should choose a character that matches the overall tone of the novel. The second chapter could be the opposite tone, but the first will be setting the tone.

The hook. A literary hook can either be a sentence or a paragraph. It is a way to get the readers interested. Once you’ve established the other 3 things, this is your starting point. How do you hook a reader? Something that would pull someone in and make them want to read more. If you need an example go back to your favorite books and read just the first paragraph. Once you’ve read a few, particularly those of the same genre, give yours a try. I’ll write another post on prologues and writing literary hooks.

Once the chapter is done you’ve finished the first step. You’ve gone from a blank page to a first chapter, whether it is a chapter or a prologue. I hope it is with exciting new zealous that you begin your book. If NaNoWriMo and the people I talked to on there taught me anything it is that starting is half the battle and finishing is the other half. So get started today.

Happy Writing.


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