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.
Author of short fiction and journals for writers.