This is going to be a novel approach to talking about writing a novel (excuse the pun). I’m calling in my alter ego, Frances di Plino, to guest post over the next few weeks on the subject. The reason I’m not making the posts as Lorraine Mace is that I haven’t yet had a novel published under my own name. Frances, on the other hand, is not only a published author of a crime/thriller (Bad Moon Rising published last year by Crooked Cat Publishing), but she is also in the throes of finishing off the next in the Paolo Storey series, Someday Never Comes. All of which means that Frances, rather than Lorraine, is the person best placed to give tips and advice on the long, hard slog to your first published novel.
So, bye bye, Lorraine, for now, and hello to Frances.
Let’s not start at the very beginning (even though it’s usually a very good place to start, as Maria sang in The Sound of Music).
This week’s question is: have you started your novel in the right place? Some good advice, given to me more years ago than I care to recall, was to start your opening chapter as close to the action as you possibly can.
You want to get your readers instantly involved in the plot and in the lives of the characters. You need the readers to be invested emotionally and intellectually in what happens next. Open with dialogue, action, or both, but make sure you hook your readers from the first paragraph.