How to Write a good novel for BeginnersWriting a good novel for beginners
Start your novel with action: Good rules?
Jane remarks: Today's feature is from The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke (@JeffGerke), edited by Writer's Digest Books. You' ve probably heared the saying that you must start your novel with some kind of activity - even if it's not the book's first one. So what does it mean to start a novel with it?
However, many fiction books do not have a hunt and an eruption throughout the entire volume, so what would "action" be? As long as it hits the right note for the upcoming novel, each of them would be a good choice. What if the author doesn't want to start with something proactive?
Does a novel have to start with some kind of activity? As we know, there are great ways to start a novel that doesn't follow the definitions of almost anyone. I know you don't know anything about me without reading a novel called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but it doesn't really make any difference.
It' s a generally accepted fact that a lucky man needs a woman. Admittedly, these are only opening rows, not opening sequences, and they come from stories from that time. The point is, however, that it's possible to have a big novel that doesn't start with an exploding shell.
How about a novel that begins with the narrator's singular story? How about a novel from the lyric prosaschool of destiny? This is my 4th novel, starting with the character discovering that he was hired to murder someone - but the scenes itself consist mainly of thought and speech, not of the characteristic depiction of an action-packed beginning.
People who want to start a novel with deeds want your readers to get involved with your work. Tiresome beginnings, they say, could stop your readers from ever becoming your readers. If you would continue to read a novel that started like this: Well, this is the beginning of The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning, and the date I did it, it was the No. 1 in Amazon's historic romanticism class, so it seems to have sold well.
But, for my part, I wouldn't read it any further, and not only because I'm not a big supporter of romanticism. There' s no risk or scheming here. Will you read another novel that starts like this next one? Now, for my part, I would read on. There' s both suspense and surprises, both dangers and the unforeseen.
It seems that over the years the readership has managed to hold on to this work. Put your readership in jeopardy, at risk, in the beginning, or in a state of astonishment, and they will have a difficult job of not holding on to your text. You can have 63 other requests they try to get through before luncheon, and if a novel doesn't grasp them right away, they put it aside and move on to the next one in the pile.
If the first line or two packs it, if an agency or journalist sees a novel that starts with a thought or a cloud account or a huge information drop about the story of something, he knows that the chances are that this is not a win. The reader wants to be carried away by a novel.
Except a novel was suggested by someone they trusted - or who was writing by someone they are related to - they won't give this novel much of their own if he doesn't get it right away. Getting started with actions is the safest way to get involved. But the other way to get involved is to start with something surprising or intriguing.
It is in your interest to start either with an event or a little bit of fun - or both. What do you do to get the readers involved right from the start? There is no doubt in my mind that the very first line, the section, the page, the sequence and the section of a novel must appeal to the readers. One of my big commandments of my work is that you have to involve your readers from start to finish.
Now, how can one address the readers at the beginning? But seriously, you will find 101 ways to get someone involved in a narrative you want to tell. They can get involved through pyrotechnic or poetic means, through chaos or soundtrack, through actions or agony. Now the point is, you attack. So, if beginning with tradition suits your novel and appeals to the readers, then do it.
When you start with an unconventional thing like breaking a vault or locating the last Easter eggs, fitting your story and keeping your readers busy, everything is fine. If you can create an opening that by nature has no plot and still matches your novel and really inspires the readers, then you should do it.
I' ve started some of my books with actions, some with non-traditional actions, one with a detection, one with a cryptic debate and one with a mind. I do not believe it is a question of starting with actions, but of getting involved. Whatever you want to do, either through actions or surprises, as long as you do, I would call it a victory.
For more information on how to address your readers, read The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke, recently published by Writer's Digest Books.