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14-35-42-773_640Are you ready for NaNoWriMo? Many of you might be preparing to write the very first scene of your novel on November 1st. My question for you is… Are you sure that’s really the beginning of the story?

All too often I read novel submissions that start with chronological storytelling. That works fine in some cases, but more often then not, a story should start with some sort of action. If you need to share backstory that informs the reader how a character got into such action, do that later in the chapter. Don’t waste your precious first lines or first scenes on backstory.

For example, let’s imagine you’re writing a novel about a zombie apocalypse. The first scene should likely be pretty horrifying to draw your readers in. A loved one turns into a zombie and the main character must kill her own brother before he eats her. There you go. All the character building and backstory can come later, that is, unless the relationship between sister and brother is important. Then start somewhere else that’s equally scary and gory with the siblings fighting packs of zombies together.

Do what you’ve got to do. But don’t start at the beginning. Save that for chapter two! And watch out for zombies!

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