Monday, February 1, 2010

Hi all. Belinda here. It's February already!! Can you believe it?

For the month of February I'm going to be talking about balance. There's all kinds of things we need to balance in our writing and in our lives, and I'm going to attempt to tackle some of those issues this month.

We're starting out by talking about openings. There are a lot of aspects to consider when you write the beginning of your novel.

First off, we have to know the characters. The hero and or heroine at least. We have to have a glimpse of who they are. A lot of beginning novelists are told to scrap the first 1-4 or more chapters of their first novel because most of it is backstory. Then I attended a workshop last year where the instructor said she judged a lot of contests and writers have dived on the other side of that pond---they start so soon you can't care about what's happening because you don't know the people involved.
I know with different genres there are different types of openings that are expected. Suspense and mystery will start totally different than women's fiction or a love story.
But still there's this balance to getting to know the hero/heroine that should take place.

Okay---Cuz Wendy---hope you don't mind, but I'm going to use you as an example here.

Cuz Wendy was dropped into a totally different world a little over a month ago. A world of cancer, chemo, radiation, trial programs and very expensive medication. Why were the F.A.I.T.H. sisters and readers of this blog upset and concerned?

Because we know Cuz Wendy enough to have it touch us.
(Thanks, girl---we do care about and love you!!)

There is no right or wrong way to start your novel. No specific rules to follow, but remember the reader can't care about someone they know nothing about. So give us a glimpse, but not their whole life story! (That can be weaved in throught the novel as needed.)

Anyone care to share a beginning they really love and why? I hope so. I love to see how stories start. Or if you have a story of how you got an idea for your opening, I would love to hear that too.


  1. Great Post, Lindi!

    We love you, cuz Wendy! We are praying for your recovery!

    I love openings of stories. For my current WIP, my Genesis Winner, I didn't come upon my opening naturally. Actually, like you said, I had to cut several chapters before I landed on the perfect opening for the story. I had to weave in a sentence or two about my Heroine to make her interesting and for the reader to care about her. I also had to put her in a situation we could relate to. My opening was originally in the middle of my book. I cut out a lot of backstory and voila! Here was an opening that helped me win a contest.

  2. My current story begins with a father struggling with his almost 13-year-old daughter who wants to wear makeup. I figure we'll feel sorry for a single dad dealing with a teenaged girl trying to grow up too fast!! :)

  3. Missy- that opening sounds great for your story. Any woman (or man) would feel sorry for a dad in that position.

    Openings are tricky. You know, when you think you've found a great one, but you're the only one that thinks so. I've learned to listen to my crit partner and others and leaving my pride behind. My current story starts with my hero (a reporter) visiting a murder scene and trying to charm my heroine (the detective) into giving him facts he can turn into a story. He fails of course. Couldn't start the book if he didn't, right?

    Wendy, definitely know that I'm praying for your health and peace during this time. Our God is a God of divine grace and healing.

  4. Ladies,

    Thanks for sharing. Openings are important especially when we hear the stories of people going to the book store, opening the book and deciding within a paragraph if they are buying.

    I've changed many of openings. And I'm sure I'll change many more.

  5. I just wanted to say I am praying for you too, Cuz Wendy. I've enjoyed getting to know you and so want joy and healing for you.

  6. Great post, Lindi. The beginning is so crucial, but it is up to us to decided where that beginning is.