How to start a novel? What are the steps to success? Are there things that need to be avoided while writing a novel?
A fictional book-length prose tale that portrays characters and events in some real-world detail. There are proper ways to start a novel and succeed with satisfaction
Even there are things to be avoided while working on a good piece of writing. A good writer always concentrates on grabbing the reader’s attention and keeping the method to the very end. Thus, this article expands the methods of producing a good novel opening. Scroll down to learn how to start a novel now!
How To Start a Novel: 8 Success Tips
- Identify the overall novel tone- a novel opening is a daunting task for even experienced writers. So, starting the first line by hinting at the author’s aimed tone, whether it is humorous, formal, sad, threatening, etc.; for example, the overall tone of Hamlet is disgust and despair, while the overall tone of sarcastic and humorous.
It is important to keep the overall consistent throughout the book because the reader can make his mind read the piece with a proper sense of feelings. As well, the writer should keep this tone until the end without confusing an honest reader. Even not with the novel’s end, if the writer hopes to write a series, the tone should be continued from novel to novel.
- Set the mood through the first image- as well as the tone; the mood is also equally important when opening the first image in a novel. It is the ambiance of a piece of writing, and the reader can set their joyful, calm, angry, or sad expectations to the right amount after reading the proper opening of a novel.
It may be an action, a dialogue, or a thought that unfolds the mood of a scene, yet it establishes an emotional connection between the text and its audience.
- Choose a point of view for your story- the point of view an author chooses can influence the reader to understand and participate in the story.
As an example, the first-person point of view makes the reader hear the inner thoughts and experience the narrator’s emotions. But, the right POV should be adapted to the correct genre as in a mystery novel, first-person narration can build up more suspects than a third-person narration.
- Make sure the opening line is memorable- after deciding on tone, mood, and point of view, a memorable opening line is important to start a novel.
A first sentence can showcase the writing style, introduce the protagonist or antagonist, or establish the arousing point of the narrative. There is no proper way to write the first line.
Ex; Lolita, the light of my life, the fire of my lions (Lolita- Vladmir Nabokov)
- Introduce the main characters- good writing has memorable character introductions. It should not be too informative or descriptive, yet the audience should gain a gross idea of the protagonist, antagonist, and other characters.
The character introduction should be a combination of physical appearance and personality as the reader can create a proper picture in his mind. If appropriate, characters can be presented with a small backstory.
- Establish the stakes of the story- besides introducing characters, raising stakes is equally important when opening a novel. It connects the reward and risks to the things that characters truly care about.
The quests that characters strive for are bound up with their identities as humans. The stakes can be raised using the personal and external motivators of characters and consequences. So, stakes are very important in a novel to drag the audience’s attention as the author expects.
- Develop an inciting incident- deciding the inciting incident early and choosing the right tone is important in a novel as it should be matched with the novel’s overall energy. This sets the characters to occupy themselves throughout the narrative.
Hence the inciting incident sets the plot into motion, it can be positive or negative, yet it is tied to the core value in the story. Further, it should be matched with the right tone as well.
- Don’t forget to revisit the opening as the novel evolves- though the opening is done as above said, when the story flows, it may not be that fit as earlier. To prevent confusion, the opening should be revisited.
Then, the writer should consider whether the tone of the opening still fits with the whole story, whether the background info relates accurately and whether the characterization is consistent at the beginning.
Since the scenes and the characters can grow differently, the right opening should be presented while the story builds up.
What To Avoid When Starting a Novel?
In addition, there are some terrible ways of opening a novel that a writer should avoid.
- Introducing too many characters at the beginning leads the audience to give up reading the story. As well, the characters’ names also should be memorable, and when the same types of names are given, the reader can be confused.
- The opening should create a conflict on the first page to hint to the reader that there will be more drama later in the book. Then the opening is terrible if it starts with revealing a summary of the whole story as it ruins the curiosity at the very beginning.
- Besides, giving too much information or starting with lots of dialogues would make the reader feels bored. A huge block paragraph of description or opening with the main character waking up also should be avoided in the opening. As well, the point of view should not be switched when opening a novel without making the reader feels confused.
- Also, prologues or backstories should be avoided in the starting scene because they should become before the story.
- So, the most important fact is that the reader should not be felt dumb at the opening of the novel, and a grand opening should give the audience a reason to cling to the novel until the end.
So, how to start a novel? – There are eight steps to follow. Yet, opening a novel is not an easy task as it gives the reader of his first impression, and it sets his mind to read a piece of writing with the right emotions.
Thus, to be succeeded in the novel with a bang, the author should be extra careful to follow the above-said steps and avoid terrible ways of opening.