Novel Beginnings: The beginning of a novel should set the tone for the rest of the book and capture the reader's attention, while not rushing into the story or giving too much away too fast.
The beginning of a novel can make or break a book. The opening pages must grab the reader by the throat and never let them go, or risk losing them completely.
The first chapter of any book will typically contain a hook. The hook can be something that resides within the first few pages, the first few paragraphs or even the opening line. Its single function is to 'hook' the attention of the reader in a way that encourages them to keep on reading.
The beginning is also where the writer needs to set up the rest of the story. Where are we? Why are we here? Who should we care about? Why should we care? What's at stake? These are all questions to provide answers to within the book's opening pages, even in their most basic form. Sometimes, though, these answers are often more effectively teased at, as opposed to handing the answers over to your readers on a plate.
Giving too much information away too early on can make your story predictable, and therefore, bland. Finding the balance between an overwhelming information dump and pure guesswork is the key to writing a solid novel beginning.
Got any tips? Share your wisdom in the comments below.
Missed last week's post? Check out A is for... Antihero here. Look out for the next post in the series, C is for... Characters.
Antihero: a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes do the "right thing", it is often for the "wrong reasons" and because it serves their self-interest rather than being driven by moral convictions.
The charming antihero is possibly one of my all time favourite story characters. Done well, they will disgust and delight you, before stealing your heart and selling it back to you in pieces.
They will often work alongside the hero or heroine in fiction. Their reason for doing so will be very different. In fact, it can be all too easy to mistake the antihero for the villain, especially when their worst moments paint them in a dark light. What separates them from the antagonist, though, is their ability to 'walk the line' between good and evil.
Yes, the antihero is fickle character. Whichever side best serves their current interest usually wins their loyalty. Despite this, though, the antihero tends to make the right decision when it counts most. Because of this, the reader can feel compelled to cheer them on throughout the story, despite the occasional villainous deed. They are redeemable.
Antiheroes get away with murder. Sometimes literally. Befriend one at your own risk.
Some examples of fictional antiheroes are:
The antihero of my current book is Drayvex from Crimson Touch. If he managed to get his hands on your heart, he'd probably eat it whole.
Can you think of any awesome antiheroes that deserve a special mention? Sound off in the comments below.
Next is B is for... Beginnings.