Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to Start Writing Your Novel: the Five Main Things

I do a lot of thinking before I start writing
There is much debate about how you should go about writing your novel. I'm a pantser, someone who does not outline, but that does not mean I don't do a lot of planning before I start a book.

What is really needed before you start your first sentence? 
I can't tell you what you'll need, but I can tell you the 5 things I need to know.

1.  Who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist...and most likely, who is the love interest? We all need a little love, right?  This is where my character bible begins. I've started making a file at the end of each of my manuscripts for this. I name it, just like I would a chapter so I can search for it quickly. I add pictures and important information as it comes to me while writing the story. That way I don't forget all the little details

2.  What is the normal world for my protagonist? What is life like for my protagonist before the catalyst comes along? Of course, there must be this catalyst (some call it the inciting incident) or else I have no story, no conflict.

3.  What is the upside down world for my protagonist? What is life like for my protagonist after the catalyst occurs? What is the debate?

4.  What makes my protagonist decide to act? After the catalyst occurs, my character must decide to act or to take matters into his/her own hands. The debate is over.

5.  How my story will end? It should be the opposite of the beginning, the proof, if you will, that my character has changed.

Once I have a basic outline in my mind of these five things, I start my book. The rest shows up as I write and revise.
-Cindy M. Hogan

What do you need in order to start your book? 
Just an idea? An entire outline? Lay it on me.



Stephen Tremp said...

These are great tips and ABCs writers often glaze over in order to write their stories.

There has to be specifics the writer needs to address, whether it's up front or as the story develops. I admit I don;t know everything up from and figure some things out as I go along.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great post, Cindy!