Bold Beginnings: Smoke it Out

I’m not sure how many of you have been camping, or enjoy camping, but either way I’m going to start this post off with a camping story.

campfireWhen I was younger, probably around the age of seven or eight my family and I used to haul our camper to a campground every summer and spend a week there. What I remember the most about these trips is the campfires. There was just something about sitting around the fire, battling the mosquitoes, and toasting marshmallows or pies that seemed great to me.

We usually tried to do campfires one of the first nights that we were camping and I remember that it made me so excited for the rest of the trip.

This is what I want your beginnings to do for the rest of your novel. Your beginning should make your readers excited to read your novel. I’ve read plenty of books that have had terrible beginnings that didn’t make me excited at all to continue reading.

When I started this blog series I wanted to empathize that even though you may not want to write your beginning, it’s a vital part in your novel’s success. In 2017 I’m hoping to have at least one novel published, if not two, and I hope that this blog series will help you to get your novel rolling.

So we’ve talked about showing emotion and giving information, but now we need to talk to how to transition into the rest of your novel. If you’re good, your readers won’t even notice the transition because they’re so invested into your novel.

Your transition needs to be smooth, flawless, and completely unique to your novel. Let me give you some examples.

–All novels have some sort of pathway that they’re on. Fictitious¬†novels normally take someone on some sort of journey. So in your beginning you introduce this journey to your readers and your characters. Your beginning kicks off this journey, and in order to transition into your middle you first have to set off on the journey.

  • The Harry Potter novels are quite popular, so let me give my first example on that. I’d say that Harry’s journey begins when he receives his letter and heads off to Hogwarts. But the novel does not begin with Harry receiving his letter. This is because your beginning should not start off with the beginning of your journey. (Does that make sense? Kinda?) The novel begins with Harry’s life with the Dursley’s. This allows the reader to gain knowledge about Harry’s life so they can emotionally connect with him.
  • Another example is The Hunger Games. The journey begins when Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games. That’s the transition from the beginning, when Katniss is at home, to the middle where we get into the ‘point’ of the story.

Anyways, what the examples are trying to show you is that your transition into your middle will be your characters discovering a journey and embarking on it. It will not bring your ‘bold beginning’ to a halt, but rather evolve it into what I like to call ‘the meat’ of the story.

So now you need to grab ahold of your beginnings and apply all three steps that I have laid out for you in this series.

  1. Strike a match: Let your emotions flood into the novel to make a great first impression.
  2. Feed the flame: Introduce everything that’s important for your reader to know about your novel that will allow the reader to make an emotional connection with them.
  3. Smoke it out: Transition into ‘the meat’ of your story by having your characters embark on their journey.

 

Work on your beginnings for the next couple of weeks and I’ll be back soon with another blog series!

 

Happy Writing!

-Kate

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