Friday, 5 September 2008

The opening of a book -

In the opening of your novel, you should let readers know just who the main characters are, or at least foretell of them.

Show the protagonists under some kind of tension. Let it be known there's a problem that needs resolving. It can be internal conflict, external conflict or conflict of man against nature, or any combination of them, but there must be conflict. Without conflict or there is no story. A novel is not a random series of events that happen to be of interest to the writer. There has to be form and reason.

Let the reader know in whom they should invest their empathy. Whose side are they on? The bad character can be congenial but set on a course we must frown on.

Let it be known what is at stake. Editors and readers want to know this from the outset. What does the main character stand to gain or lose? What will be the result if the protagonist wins?

Confirm the setting; where and when does the story takes place?

Link the beginning to the end. Let the problem that starts the story not be resolved until the final few pages. There can be numerous minor problems between, but the starting problem must be the major conflict, and the only conflict that threads its way throughout the whole story.

And finally, you must set the tone of the story at the beginning, sombre or animated, amusing or heart-rending, let the reader be in no doubt what sort of story they are about to enjoy.

Next post is about my podcast.

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

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