5 Inspirations for Your First Chapter

Nov 1, 2015 | Writing

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November is here, now it is time to write that story you have had in mind. Previously, I spoke about pre-planning your novel for NaNoWriMo. Now, no more planning, it is time to start typing.

Facing the Blank Page

You’re about to write out the first words in your new novel, this can be either discouraging or create an instant roadblock. As a fellow writer, I find writing down the first several words can be challenging. It is like moving a massive boulder, and like one, just needs the right leverage to get rolling. So what do you type? Below are some ideas that can help inspire you:

1. Avoid Common Beginnings

As a precautionary you will want to try and avoid common beginnings to novels such as “The sky was cloudy and rain fell to the ground”. Explaining the weather, someone doing chores or the narrator introducing themselves are stale and will discourage people from continuing to read your novel. This is not to say it doesn’t work. If you are to go this route, come back and edit it to creatively explain the scenario so it does hook the reader in.

2. Begin with the end of an action scene

Why not start the novel off at the end of an argument between two characters? Or introduce the book at the climax of a fight, or a tragic circumstance. The reader will begin to wonder what the argument/fight was about. It will also give incentive for the narration/characters to explain what had just happened, providing background as a part of the story and not for the sake of explaining.

3. Introduce the villain

Beginning your story by introducing the villain can come across as out of place if it is written out of character. Remember the character sheets? Keep the introduction in tune with the villain and write from his/her perspective. What drives them to do the evil they do? Or perhaps they aren’t that evil and it is a matter of perspective. Starting the story with the villain’s motives will set an instant premise for the novel, giving the reader some tangible information to keep reading.

4. Start at the End or Midway of the story

This does require the understanding of your whole story arch, and some pre-planning. Launching the first chapter with the end will need backtracking with the story when moving onto chapter 2. The benefit of starting at the end will give readers mystery. How did the protagonist end up here? You could also start midway in the book. Write the first half to guide the story back to chapter 1 then the second half is into the unknown.

5. Defining Character Moment

Your first chapter could also be something in the past that has defined the protagonist to be who they are in the story. Perhaps your main character has a chip on their shoulder and the reason for it takes place years ago.

Don't get caught up - write!
Start writing now!

Most importantly, don’t get hung up!

NaNoWriMo is only a month and you need to average out 1,667 words per day. Second guessing will just chew away at your valuable time. If you have an introduction paragraph or even a full chapter that you are questionable about – who cares? Writing it will give you a better grasp of why the scene will not work in the story. If that section of the manuscript really bugs you, keep a separate document with notes of all the sections you want to come back to and revisit after NaNoWriMo. Hit that 50,000 word goal first, editing come second.

Author Konn Lavery

About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and Literary Titan.

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