Novel Beginnings


Starting a novel can be a daunting task. There are many approachs to take. It would help to plan out the entire novel and all the characters and plot twists. My experience has been backwards. I’m a pantser. I’ve winged it for most of my novels. The story doesn’t reveal itself until midstream and then I have to go back and fix the beginning. I’ve made rookie mistakes in my current novel: the first three pages are all narrative backstory, there’s no action, I just tell how my character got to be where she is when the story begins.

How I’m fixing this: planning. I have to pull up my sleeves and look at the whole picture of my story. What elements will draw the reader in and keep them intrigued to read on? To gradually show who my character is through their actions and the way they view the world around them. It’s so much easier to just tell everything, it takes a bit more craft to create an engaging story that people will enjoy and want to read!

I’ll keep editing. I’ll keep learning and reading. I’ll keep letting people read my work and give advice. I’ll keep making it better. Writing is a journey. A long one.

How do you approach your novel beginnings?


12 thoughts on “Novel Beginnings

  1. I wing it, starting at the beginning with an idea and then just writing until an end reveals itself. Subsequent drafts are about refining and revealing until I abandon it. Then it goes for feedback and then to my agent.

  2. With my short stories and the one novel I’ve finished, I just jump right into it when it comes to writing. However, I usually have rolled around the idea of the story in my head for a little while. And sometimes that involves jotting down notes of the ideas so I won’t forget them. For NaNoWriMo, an idea has been churning since August, and I’m eager to get started on it when November arrives. I find that the pondering before I write helps me figure out where I should start. Also, it gives me ideas for scenes. But when I get writing, the story can go in different directions.

    • Megan Sutherland

      Thanks for sharing. It’s so great to see how other writers write! I suppose I go to all my stories with the idea of a basic romance plot, and everything else develops as I write it.

  3. During a first draft, I’m a total pantser! But, as I get into revisions, I turn into more of a planner. I often tell people I write a novel like I bake a cake:

    Draft 1: Throw the ingredients into a bowl (create the general characters and plot)
    Draft 2: Bake the cake (solidify the characters/plot).
    Draft 3 (and so on): Frost the cake (edit, edit, edit and make it pretty!)

    • Megan Sutherland

      I love cooking! Great analogy. I miss the freedom of writing a fresh and new story. Been editing away for a long time.

      • I’m with you on the editing front. It starts to become so tedious and draining, you know?

        I’m excited to finish my current WIP and get “baking” on a new story, too! …Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’m a nerd! lol

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