7 Full Proof Tips for Starting Your Novel / Book
If you are observant, opinionated, history or classic literature lover, you probably desire to publish your book someday. However, as fascinating and dreamy as it may sound, most people just don’t know how to preface. When you are about to begin something that does not have a time limit, take it with a grain of salt. You need time to plan it out. So, here in this article, we’ll be discussing 7 full proof tips for starting your novel / book.
7 Full Proof Tips for Starting Your Novel / Book
Well Begun is half Done!
You probably have read the first line of a book and got enticed by it so much that you ended up completing it in two days. The purpose of the opening line is not to sound beautiful but to draw the attention of the reader with a little hint. Some like to plan it out, but in the beginning, and some prefer to go with the flow. However, it is important to plan the tone and the next step so that you are not clueless. Even, if you are not sure what you want to add further, you are aware of the tone that you need to focus on.
Point of View is the Eye
One of the most significant aspects of your writing is the point of view. Let me elaborate on why it is essential. There are three different kinds of points of view – first person, second person, and third person.
The first person point of view is when the character is narrating the story. This narrative uses ‘I’ to show the readers his perspective. For example, The Bell Jar, The Catcher in the Rye, and more.
Second person perspective is the least used point of view. It essentially makes the reader a character of the story. There are not a lot of fictional works based on this point of view as it is not a piece of cake. It requires a great deal of practice of finesse. However, here are a few examples: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Self-Help stories by Lorrie Moore, The Night Circus, etc.
The third person’s point of view works best if your story is highly plot-driven and contains multiple characters. There are two different kinds of Third Person POV: Third Person Omniscient and Third Person Limited. Both of these use “he” and “she”. However, with the omniscient multiple characters are working as the narrator and in the third person, limited follows one character’s viewpoint throughout the story. The drawback with the third person limited is you cannot follow all the characters. A great example of third-person omniscient is Les Miserables. Harry Potter stories are based on a third-person limited point of view as we see the whole story through his eyes, another fantastic example is Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
Create a Mood
It is not a piece of cake, but if you are aware of the tone and the genre your first scene will grab the attention of your audience. Your opening scene must have authority over the reader. I prefer a dark novel involving aesthetic imagery such as The Picture of Dorian Gray. The novel prefaces the beautiful imagery of Basil’s studio with elegant references to the perfumes of roses, lilacs, and words like “honey-coloured”. However, soon enough there is a mention of the word ‘vulgar’ and the hint of the artist, the art, and the sin subtly poured. You cannot be too hard on yourself as you cannot please everyone. Each individual has their favourite genre. Just know the tone and go with it, it will reach your audience.
Introduction of the Primary Characters
When you have set the mood, it’s time to disclose the primary character. Let them move the plot forward. It is important to introduce the characters right from the beginning. This will help you avoid the overly descriptive dumpy start. There are writers like Thomas Hardy who can go on and on about the description of nature. Most readers prefer a fast-paced book and less perplexity. It is bad to not introduce a character right from the beginning and worse to introduce a lot at once. If you do that your readers are most likely to keep them back on the shelf and regret buying them. Take time with each character, introduce them subtly, associate them with other characters, and reflect on their personality, but don’t start describing and then involve another character.
Create the Conflict
Conflict is another primary aspect of any novel as it demands the reader to continue. Make sure that something should go wrong in the novel, mystery and thrill are a requirement. The conflict doesn’t necessarily mean someone should die. There are several kinds of conflict and they are based on internal and external conflict. Internal conflict or character vs. self happens with the protagonist or the main character. They struggle with their contradictory beliefs and desires. It helps with character development. External conflict happens with something or someone. It can be another character, society, nature, technology, and more. The characters struggle with this external force as it creates a barrier between the character and their goal.
Develop a Provoking Incident
Once you have decided the kind of conflict you would build in your story, you have to develop an inciting incident to bring the tension to the forefront. The provoking incident will dwell for a period and then reach the climax before the end scene. In some stories, the tension is always there from the beginning and a small incident will kindle the fire. An example of this is Henrik Ibsen’s Doll’s House. Make sure the pivotal moment is not extremely distinct. It should be in a similar tone as the rest of the story. Hagrid visiting Harry to tell him that he’s a wizard is a pivotal moment. The scene grabs the attention of the reader and leads to Hogwarts house from Harry’s sad life in a cupboard under the stairs.
Edit Your Draft
When you are done with the introduction, characters, major incident, and all, go back to your draft. See if the tone is correct throughout or not. You primarily need to check three things: the opening line, background information, and characterization. The genre of your novel can take a drastic turn throughout your writing process. Make sure when you revisit, the opening scene resembles the story throughout the story. Or, at least the transformation is subtle and well-developed. Every genre has the right setting, a novel like Pride and Prejudice can’t have the setting of a dark castle.
The purpose of editing is to add and erase stuff. Make sure your tone and choice of words are representing the genre you are focusing on. With the progress of your story, the personality of the character will change but there should always be that thread that reconnects to the core. Revisiting your work is an ongoing procedure. Once you realize that you have reached your limit and you have nothing more to add or obliterate, it’s time for a professional editor.
There will be times when you will compare your work and effort with other writers. But, Stephen King can only be inspired by Virginia Woolf for the excellence but not by the plot. No one thinks, observes, or visualizes things that you do. Never compare your effort or work with others. If anything, get motivated by their success and consistency. Just open your device or take a piece of paper and start writing, outline the narrative, ask questions as a reader, and be the observer.
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