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How to Start a Book

It’s really easy for me, when I’m writing, to jump right into a story and keep the tension high and the pace fast, immediately grabbing hold of my readers. But then the first chapter or two ends, and some of the problems with diving instantly into a heart-pounding scene with no real exposition becomes annoyingly obvious. People don’t understand the world, or how it works. They start to have questions that I’m torn about. Part of me wants to say, you’ll find out, and the other part of me wonders if they should already know the answers. So taking some time, I decide to pick and choose, weaving some of this important information throughout my story. But then, I get a lot of this and this, slows down the tension.

Sigh. What am I to do?

Most of the time, I end up going back and adding a chapter in the beginning. This chapter still has great tension and character development, but it also explains some of the vital information about my world, so the rest of the story can move faster. But it isn’t as heart-pounding as my first draft, at least not right off the bat.

I still haven’t completely decided about the best way to start a book. Is it better to get right into things and then slightly slow the pace later on by adding the vital information? Or is it better to start a little slower, get that information on the page, and then dive into the really good stuff?

But for the two novels I’m working on right now, I’ve changed them to slow the pace in the beginning, so I can quicken the pace throughout the rest of the novel. This is not necessarily what I’ll do with ever book I write, but right now, it seems like the best decision.

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1 Comment

  1. This is pretty much how I feel when writing, especially a very fictional work. For me, I imagine a scene and I can write the dialogue well but I feel like describing the imagery for the audience slows down my momentum for the scene. One remedy I have is writing dialogue beforehand.

    Reply

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