It is often argued that the hardest part to writing a novel is beginning it. This may or may not be true; personally, I don’t believe the beginning is the most difficult bit, but there is no arguing that starting out is hard. So to help you begin your journey to write the book you’ve been meaning to, here are a few tips:
1. The idea
Writing a novel, or a story, begins with an idea. Truthfully, there are no substitutes for a good idea, and no incantation to summon one to your mind. But there are ways to find ideas; go out and do things that inspire you, and chances are you’ll come up with something. Sometimes even the smallest thing can give way to other things. And if that doesn’t work, just open a document or pull out a blank page. It may be a little intimidating, but if you begin writing what comes to your mind and continue your train of thought, it may bring you somewhere worthwhile.
2. Turn your idea into a novel
An idea isn’t the only thing that will get your story going. You’ll need to know how you want your idea to be communicated to your audience. Research different ways of developing a plot, and see which approach you’d like to take. Plan out your characters; what sort of people do you want to guide our plot? Who would best assist it? Consider the setting for your story, and what narrative you’d like to use.
3. An intriguing first line
To start a book strongly, there really isn’t anything better than a killer first line. No matter the sort of book you are writing, you need a first line that will grab your readers’ attention. Write something out of the ordinary, or perhaps something that will get your audience asking questions. Even if you want the beginning of your book to exemplify the ordinariness of your character’s everyday life, find an interesting way to phrase it, or perhaps latch on to some small, bizarre detail.
4. Your first chapter is a promise
When you start writing your novel, remember that the first chapter will take everything as a promise. Sometimes, a reader will only get through the first chapter of a book, so you need to make sure that first chapter gets them intrigued. The things you bring up in your first chapter should be themes and elements that will be brought up throughout the novel, and they should be things that will interest your reader, and make them want to read on to find out more.
5. Fight through the lulls of the first few chapters
Writer’s block is a very scary phenomenon for writers, amateur or professional (Remember, it happens to all of us!) What’s most important is your attempt at overcoming these obstacles. The beginning of a novel is a common place to hit a block, as well as is in the first few chapters of your novel. The best thing to do is to push through, but remember – after a certain point, you may be heading in the wrong direction if you are stuck in a block for weeks. Don’t be afraid to change your story’s entire route. Generally, the things that are boring to write are also boring to read.
Hopefully, these tips were enough to help you on your way. So remember, if you have a story you want to tell, or if you’re simply addicted to writing as I am, you can try to use these tips to start. There is no formula, there is no absolute truth in how to write, but hopefully these are a few ideas that might help you on your way.