Friday, January 13, 2023



My novel Ursula's Inheritance was just short-listed for  Laramie Award
honoring Americana fiction.

My novel Missing At Harmony Festival was just short-listed for an MM Mystery Award.

                                                   find my BWL books here!

        Bring all your intelligence to bear on your beginning. --Elizabeth Bowen

January is a month for new beginnings. For writers, it may mean the start of a new novel. Here are some thoughts on beginnings...

Beginnings hold the promise of what's to come in the rest of the novel: the promise of being worth a reader's time and the engagement of her attention and imagination.

I advise my writing students to not worry too much about where a novel begins.  Find a point that interests you and plunge in. But after the first draft is complete, take another look at the beginning, and ask:

1. Does your beginning introduce the story, characters and establish a dramatic premise (what the major conflicts are)?

2. Does your beginning establish what kind of story this is (science fiction, mystery, romance, YA)?

3. Does it plant the reader firmly in time and place?

4. Does it contain conflict?

5. Does it set your tone and style?

6. Does it show your choice of viewpoint?

7. And always, always, always: is it essential?

Based on the answers to these questions, it may be wiser to start the book in another place, or perhaps work on that first chapter until it answers all seven questions, and of course...sings!

Remember dear writers: In literature as in life, no one gets a second chance to make a good first impression!

1 comment:

  1. Begin at the beginning. I usually have my first scene in my head when I begin writing the story. Sometimes it doesn't work


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