Saturday, March 21, 2009


I'm all about the sunrise right now, so I've decided to do a series on how to write a great beginning to a novel. Let's start out with the basics. Generally a sunrise is an awful place to start a novel. Another bad idea is to start where your main character is waking up in the morning. Please avoid dark and stormy nights, too. This approach has really been done.

Next, don't slap down a huge hunk of description either. Think about this. A beginning can only hold so much information, so please don't flood the first chapter with so much stuff that the reader doesn't care. Also don't have people talking and really not saying anything but remarks about the weather and the price of pig bellies.

Nothing like a lovely pastoral scene with bunnies, apple trees, and puffy white clouds and not a whit of conflict to make a reader toss your book. So, if the bunnies are really zombie bunnies, and there's a deadly snake in that apple tree, and giant flying cats are lurking in those ethereal clouds, then they are probably OK. Otherwise take the red pen and cut them.

Here's my first piece of "do" advice. The best way to begin a book is to launch into the action! What sets your character's heart on fire? Over the next few weeks, I'll break down the nuts and bolts of beginnings. Hope you check back. If you have any thoughts, please post.

I call this week's doodle, "Abstract Light."

Remember: ©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permission!

Today's playlist hit is "Sun Will Rise" by Brendan James. There is nothing like the rising of the sun, folks. It's steadfastness is the promise that mercy is new every morning.

The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. John Muir


Julie Reinhardt said...

How about this: "It was a dark and stormy night. Two long ears poked up from the rain soaked ground. Was it her dog, Fluffers? Billy Sue saw shivering white whiskers appear. She heard a wailing scream then realized it was her own voice. It wasn't Fluffers. Oh no. It was a killer zombie bunny!"

All jests aside - thank you for this series, Molly. I definitely need it!

MollyMom103 said...

Oh, no! A killer zombie bunny! And Fluffers is missing...

I need my own series, too. I'm taking my own advice. :) Molly