Making a plan to write a novel

Embarking on a Novel-Writing Journey

Writing a novel can be a daunting task, but the journey begins with that crucial first step – the beginning. There are countless ways to start a novel, and popular starters often set the tone, introduce characters, and engage readers right from the first page. Here are some examples to help you kickstart your novel-writing adventure.

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  1. In Media Res: Starting in medias res means beginning your story in the midst of action or a significant event. This immediately captures the reader’s attention and raises questions that demand answers. For example, “The gunshot rang out just as he was about to propose.”
  2. Character Introduction: Introducing a compelling character right away can be a powerful hook. For instance, “Scarlett had always been the kind of person who believed in ghosts, and now, she was about to become one.”
  3. Setting the Scene: Setting the scene can transport the reader into your story’s world. “The ancient oak tree loomed over the cemetery, casting long shadows on the gravestones. As Emma approached, the wind whispered secrets of the past.”
  4. Mystery or Riddle: Presenting a mystery or riddle at the outset can pique the reader’s curiosity. “The letter arrived without a return address, containing only a single word: ‘Remember.’ But remember what?”
  5. Dialogue: An engaging dialogue can be a captivating start. “‘You’re telling me we have to steal the Hope Diamond?’ ‘Yes, and we have 48 hours to do it,’ replied Alex.”
  6. Conflict: Plunging your protagonist into conflict can create immediate tension. “The ship rocked violently as the storm raged on. Jane knew she had to save her crew, but what she didn’t know was that her biggest adversary wasn’t the tempest.”
  7. Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing hints at future events, leaving readers eager to discover what’s coming. “Little did Sarah know, that chance encounter at the bookstore would change her life forever.”
  8. Dream or Nightmare: Starting with a dream or a nightmare can provide a surreal and intriguing entry point. “Jacob awoke from a dream soaked in sweat, but the feeling of dread lingered. He knew he had to find out what it meant.”
  9. Quote or Proverb: Using a meaningful quote or proverb can set the theme or tone for the novel. “The old adage, ‘You can’t go home again,’ haunted Mark as he stood on the familiar yet foreign street of his hometown.”
  10. Historical Anecdote: If your novel has historical elements, a captivating historical anecdote can draw readers in. “In the year 1922, on the cobbled streets of Paris, a love story unfolded that would defy the boundaries of time.”
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The beginning of your novel serves as the gateway to your story’s world, and it should invite readers to step through. Whichever approach you choose, make sure it aligns with the tone and genre of your story and sets the stage for the journey that lies ahead. Writing a novel is an adventure, and the first sentence is your map to guide readers into uncharted territory.

-Michael Forman (Author of SEETHINGS)

Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer specialising in taking lightning pictures may be the only witness.


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