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Help! Where should my novel start?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by MatthewCEarls, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. MatthewCEarls

    MatthewCEarls Dreamer

    As of right now I have the first 26 chapters of my novel outlined and ready to go (adding in foreshadowing, symbolism, etc. each day). I'm stuck at where exactly to start my novel. I'll give you guys a synopsis of the first couple of chapters. Part of me thinks my third chapter should be my first chapter.

    Prologue or Possible Chapter 1: Two main characters away from home. At home, the main characters' father is killed.

    Chapter 2: Two main characters away from home visiting the antagonist's house, although at the time he is a presumed friend of their father's. They receive an important letter that will play into the novel quite a bit.

    Chapter 3: A short travel back home. When the two MCs arrive home, they find the burned remains of what was their small farm and the remains of their father.

    I'm torn because I think I need a little bit before the characters arrive at home. If I don't have some sort of interaction between the brother and sister, then the reader won't truly care if their home is burned down and their father is murdered.

    Any ideas? Is this too vague?
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    Start writing and decide later. Worrying about it now will only cause a case of procrastination.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  3. Malik

    Malik Auror

    I cut out nearly an entire book's worth of background when I realized that my bad guy and good guy were flipped; my evil genius secondary character was becoming the hero of the story, and my main character was turning out to be a prick. So I started the book where the now-hero enters and just reveal as much as necessary through exposition.

    On the plus side, I have a well-developed backstory and about fifty thousand words' worth of notes on what's now my bad guy.

    So, yeah. Start where you want to start, and you'll figure out what's important as you go.
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Yeah you can always worry about it when the work is done, during the editing process.

    Based on what you've said so far, my gut instinct is to start at Chapter 3.
  5. teacup

    teacup Auror

    I agree with Steerpike. I'd just start wherever and write on, then decide later, but if you was to decide now I'd choose chapter 3. With that you're able to show through the characters whatever happened in the would be chapter 2 and also bring the hook of the father's death quite early on.
  6. HabeasCorpus

    HabeasCorpus Minstrel

    It sounds like, with 26 chapters in the bag, he's asking for suggestions as to where to start because he's done the writing and found he's not sure where the writing has taken him...

    I tend to prefer flights over scottish highlands that land you with a glimpse of the MCs before their life is overturned. (kidding, i just really like braveheart). That said, I know there's supposed to be a hook at the start, but the murder of a parent is a pretty severe thing, so I agree with you that if there was something to show that I liked/loved/could relate to the father, when you take him away, it'll be more powerful.
  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    This is good advice.

    Further, I believe that in most cases you should always start the farthest into the story that you can without losing any scenes vital to the story.
  8. MatthewCEarls

    MatthewCEarls Dreamer

    Thanks guys (and gals if there are any)!

    I think I can give enough of the two main characters at the beginning of the novel to have the reader care about them enough. That way, when they arrive back home to see their father murdered and their home burned down, the reader will care enough to feel for both of them. Then the father's murderer will be even more shocking when it comes to light. Chapter 3 will now turn into Chapter 1.

    Thanks again!
  9. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    What do you mean "if there are any"? There aren't any females on the internet. I should know, I am one!

    Seriously, though, gender neutral thanks are fine.

    But I will echo what Butterfly and others have said: start writing, if the beginning doesn't fit right, you'll have a much better perspective of it once you're done than you do now.

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