Starting A Novel
For me as an author, the hardest part about writing a novel is… starting. Where exactly do you begin? An introduction of your characters seems like the obvious place, but it risks boring a reader with details. Starting out with action is probably better, but then a reader might not know what the heck is going on or who these characters are.
Jeez...writing is hard.
See? Writing is hard.
Writing a sequel is even more intimidating. Feedback from fans about my futuristic erotic romance Programmed For Pleasure has been wonderful, and more than one reader has asked for a sequel – specifically for Tau Cetus police agent Leith Wyatt, my Programmed For Pleasure heroine Jai Turner’s yummy male partner.
So that’s what I’m working on right now. Leith’s story will be called Programmed To Protect.
But I can’t figure out how to start the story with characters that some readers already know well. Do I recap Programmed For Pleasure through dialogue in the first chapter so new readers know the past history, or is that too much of an info dump? Do I jump right into the action and then feed in teaser bits of the previous story so readers realize there was a Book One?
GAK! Writing is hard.
My gut tells me to start with the action, so that’s where I’m leaning. I plan to have Leith Wyatt fill the reader in on past events as he thinks about them throughout the book, which will serve two purposes: it’ll refresh the memory of readers who enjoyed the first story, and let new readers know the background of what went on before now in these characters’ lives.
Makes sense, right? But I’ll be darned if I can follow my own advice. I’ve already started Chapter One three times.
I’m tearing my hair out.
As a compromise, I’ve abandoned Chapter One for now, and jumped right into the action for Wyatt. By Chapter Two, he’s already had a confrontation with his antagonist and slept with his heroine. (Hey, I write erotic romance. The sex has to happen right away J) To make things easier on myself, I’ve left the stress and angst of starting the book until later, maybe even until after I’ve finished the book. It’s certainly given me free rein to immerse myself in the fun stuff – the story of how Wyatt will save the planet.
And who knows? Maybe Chapter Two will become Chapter One, and I won’t have to worry about it at all.
Or maybe not. Maybe the story needs to be grounded somehow at the beginning…
Jeez...writing is hard.
What about you? Ever have trouble with the beginning of a story? Tell me! Misery loves company!!