by Lillian Duncan
Let’s get right to the 3 steps to publication…guaranteed! As I’m sure you know all stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. So the perfect formula for writing a great book, meaning publishable is…
best beginning + marvelous middle + explosive ending = GREAT STORY! (and a book contract).
Succeed with those three easy steps, and you’ll have that brass ring you’ve been reaching for–publication! OK-maybe they aren’t all that easy. That’s why there are a ton of how-to-write-the-best-book-in-the-world books out there, not to mention countless blogs.
Let’s take a closer look at BEST BEGINNINGS today.
The writer’s first task is to hook the reader. Starting with a murder is always good, but only if you write suspense or mysteries!
The key to creating a hook is to arouse the reader’s curiosity so they will want to see what happens next. Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts that can help with that.
DON’T start with the main character sitting and pondering life.
DO start with action! And then some more action and even more action! Here’s a little secret–the beginning action doesn’t have to be directly related to the main plot. It only needs to hook the reader’s attention so they keep reading.
DO surprise or shock your reader. It could be something your character says or does or happens to them. I’m partial to having the main character say something shocking, but that’s just me.
DON’T start with a sunset–no matter how beautifully you can write about it, you shouldn’t! Or any other type of weather either. Unless you’ve placed your character in the middle of a blizzard or a hurricane and the reader sees the character fighting to stay alive.
DO place the reader firmly into your story world. Help the reader to visualize what’s going on by incorporating all five of the senses. Now I don’t mean start with pages and pages of description. Description is necessary but only in bits and pieces.
DON’T start with a dream–no matter how exciting it is! Agents/editors list this as one of their biggest pet peeves. You want to hook them into the story so they keep reading not make them angry on the very first page.
DO have more than one character in the scene. As the saying goes–the more the merrier and that’s very true with writing. By having at least two characters in the beginning scene, you’re better able to create action and conflict.
DON’T start with back story or genealogy. Save it until after the reader cares about the character then scatter it in a sentence or two at a time–not a whole chapter. I’ve come to the conclusion that writers love backstory a lot more than readers do!
DO introduce conflict as soon as possible. Conflict is not necessarily the same thing as action. Conflict is about creating tension, making the reader worry so they keep on reading.
I’m out of time so next time…marvelous middles and explosive endings.
Lillian Duncan is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read-fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.