This weekend, I happily began writing my second novel, WAKE UP LOVE CALL — a full three days earlier than my self-imposed goal. And as I sat there at my computer, I struggled to actually “start” writing.
As fiction writers, we all know how difficult it is to write that first word, that first sentence, that first paragraph and so on.
I experienced this with my first novel, TEACH ME TONIGHT and I was determined to do things differently the second time around.
So instead of panicking, I decided to reflect on what I’d learned thus far about the task of writing the first page.
Dominique’s “First Page” Writing Tips
1) Hook ‘Em To Your Book — You must reel your audience into your story with that first sentence. And it must be so good, so compelling that they keep reading to the next sentence, and the next, and so on. No wonder it’s often the hardest one to write. You’ll want to spend a significant amount of time on this.
2) Setting the Stage — Let your readers know “where” they are at in the story. Don’t pour out all the details yet, just give them a sense of time and place.
3) Who’s The Main? (Character, that is!) — Decide on your POV character and stick to it throughout the first scene, or even through the first chapter, if you’d like. Head-hopping or switching POV frequently is always discouraged because it can confuse people.
4) Deliver the Goal — Within the first paragraph or two, the reader should be clear on the goal of the main character.
5) Advertise Conflict — Based on the goal of the main character, who or what is trying to stop her from achieving that goal?
6) Motivate To Relate — Tell us what the motivation is behind the main character’s goal. Why should we care that she wants this goal (or him!) so badly. Revealing your character’s motivation helps the reader begin to emotionally bond with them — and your book!
Now, I know what you’re saying.
“Dominique. You must be crazy, girl! How can I possibly cover all that in the first page of my book! “
I’m here to tell you YES — you can do it. If you would just break up that first page into the components I’ve described above, you will see that writing the first page will be less stressful and more gratifying for you.
And once you have a first page you love and you’re confident about, it’s much easier to write the second page, third and the entire book.
It worked for me. I even won a first place in a RWA-chapter contest that was based on the 1st 5 pages of TEACH ME TONIGHT.
I invite you to give it a try — and comment here with your experiences.
MLUV:) Be blessed!