Writer’s write. This is what I’ve been told since the first day I declared my intention to tell the stories inside me.
It sounded so simple. You have a story, and you should tell it. Just sit down and write. Simple and straight forward. If only it were that easy. But it’s not. Whether you write for a living or simply to still the small voices inside you which compel you share the story you know, it is never easy.
The worst part, always, is knowing where to start. Most of us don’t know where the story begins with any more certainty than you do where every story begins. That being said, let me assure you every story is unique. There is no right or wrong answer about where to start.
Regardless of the advice you read, and the opinions are numerous, where the story begins is a matter of choice and style. You will learn how to choose what works for you as a writer, and style develops over time. I’ve heard it said you need to write a million words before you find your voice.
No matter what type of fiction you choose, writing a salable compelling novel is difficult. The fiction market is highly competitive, and to succeed in the marketplace, even if you choose self publishing, you will need to know the fundamentals of good writing.
What you need to demonstrate is a good hook to engage your reader and compelling plot points to keep them engaged in the story. Then you will need to write sharp and tight to keep your story appealing to the audience.
Developing the opening hook is as simple as writing a sentence and as difficult as summing up the entire premise of the story in a few short words. Great opening lines create a question in the readers mind that needs to be answered. That need is what keeps them reading. The need to find out how the characters arrived at this moment and what happened to them. But more importantly what will happen next?
Hooks are also used to close scenes and chapters. These scene and chapter endings being the opportunities for a reader to take a break and put your book down. If you don’t want that to happen, then ensure that you’ve posed and important question as to what happens next?
Don’t worry about spending too much time on that opening, because for the most part, other than writing, most writers re-write. And it is not only likely, but highly probable, that re-writing is in your future. If you don’t master the opening on the first pass (And I bet you won’t) you will have plenty of opportunities to re-write then opening into a fine tuned and lethal hook. Because the thing most writers spend their time on is re-writing and editing.