Monday, June 3, 2013

How Should You Open Your Novel

How should one open their novel?  Should they jump right into the action?  Should they have a conversation in the beginning?

I have seen it both ways.  I have seen a paragraph or two setting up the story so the reader knows what's going on.  I have also seen the opening paragraph start with a conversation.  Josi S. Kilpack's main character Sadie opens Pumpkin Roll with a question.  This is a good way, but I don't think it's the only way.  And I do love Kilpack's books.

I think it has to do with how you want to capture your audience.  Do you want them to know your character before they say anything, or do you want their first words to define your character?  You can give a first impression only once.  Decide what you want to present to your reader and then do it.

And it can be quite daunting to decide how to start.  Take a breath, relax and then type.  Have your characters in mind and then sit at your computer [or typewriter] and let them out on the page.  If you know your character[s] well, they will let you know how they want to be known.  Are they a chatty-patty or are they quiet?  Are they mean or sweet?  It is all up to your character; they will let you know.  So get to know them and then present them to your reading audience.

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