That Blank First Page

Okay, you followed my advice and took those five steps to begin your fiction novel.  Good for you!  Only problem is, now it’s time to write those all-important first lines and nothing brilliant is coming to you.  So now you’re really scared!

Relax.  Take a deep breath. Pop a chocolate into your mouth.

You’re right that the beginning of your novel is crucial.  But here’s a secret from one who has written 39 first lines:  Most often that perfect opening doesn’t show itself until you’re well into the writing of the book.  Really!

This first draft will not be your final draft.  It is quite simply your rough first draft.  So give yourself permission to write imperfectly.

You know your main character.  You know the mood and setting for your story.  Most likely, you even have an opening scene in mind.  So sit down and write.  Don’t worry about grammar.  Forget about spelling.  Don’t concern yourself with clever wordplay. And, please, don’t interrupt yourself to go back to edit your work.  Just get that first chapter down

Want to know the true secret of good writing?  Good editing!  And as you progress through your novel, you will likely find your wonderful first line hidden in the most surprising of places. 

Actually, it’s not really that surprising.  After all, you don’t really know your story all that well yet.  You aren’t yet well enough acquainted with your character to hear the best words come from his or her mouth.  But all that will change by the time you type in THE END.

Write on!

“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept.”

~Michael Crichton~

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “That Blank First Page

  1. Jeanette

    Thanks for this helpful post, Kay! One set of characters recently started speaking to me again. The only catch is that they want to do something different than I originally planned for them. So in some ways I feel like I’m starting from scratch. Thankfully, they were kind enough to share the new plan with me. Now that I have that down, I need to get started on the new Chapter 1. This reminder to just get going on it gave me the kick start I needed.
    Happy Writing!
    Jeanette

  2. So glad it helped, Jeanette.
    Looking forward to hearing more about this new book!

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