First Chapters et All

So you’ve decided to write a novel, good for you! You’re excited at this creative endeavour as characters and plots start pouring into your mind. You finally find the time to start writing, sit down at a computer, place your fingers on the keyboard and start typing away.  

Got the first chapter done yet? Good, gives us something to work with. So let’s look at it:

If you’re like me, you like to start off the novel in an unassuming way; creating a foundation from which the story can build on. It’s the calm before the storm, the bright sunny day before all Hell breaks loose. Setting up your story this way allows the reader a chance to see the characters interact with his/her world on a normal day; see how he/she relates to the world around them, which is good if you plan on tearing that world apart later on.

Some people don’t care for this, they like action fast and furious; start the whole thing in the middle of a fight or action scene, and that’s fine too. By starting off this way, you’re taking your reader by the arm and saying “Let’s have some fun!” This is a great way to grab your reader and keeping them interested. After all, who’s going to put down a novel when the main character’s life is in peril right at the beginning!  

Whatever way you start your novel, make sure it stays true to the STORY. You’re going to get people who don’t like it because it’s not the way they would start it, and that’s fine, but this is your story, told by you. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this. If you’re unsure, experiment, try writing an opening in the opposite of what you’ve already got. There’s no harm in that, and, you might just find something you didn’t know was there in the first place.


About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

5 Responses to First Chapters et All

  1. DawnGSparrow says:

    Excellent advice Darke!!! It was definitely something I learned from my first novel.

    (BTW, you in for my flash fiction?)

  2. Same here. I did my first chapter several times until I got it right.

  3. kmcambion says:

    With few exceptions, I don’t really like to open a story with a big showy action scene. To me, it feels too much like I’m trying to set up a movie instead of worrying about preparing the story.

    • Lol, that always grabs people, doesn’t it? I’ve read posts on forums and what not where the poster insists that you have to start novels this way.

      • kmcambion says:

        I always seem to see that–you have to start with a bang! Well, not really. One of my favorite books literally starts with the beginning of the world and a story being told. No explosions there.

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