I am really struggling with the introduction to my novel?

It seems as if I have restarted about 10 times, but I can't seem to get it right. I mean, the writing is fine (for a first draft) but the events are dull. I began again last night and was about 1000 words into it before I realized what I had done was just create a massive conversation in which I was writing exposition. Not the best way to start a book...

Now, I realize I could easily skip over the beginning and get right to the good part, saving this troublesome area for later... but I can't bring myself to do it. I like to write like I read: In sequential order.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to start a book?

Thanks :)


Sheesh, just read over that... sorry for the bad grammar and such. I was trying to write and listen to music at the same time which never turns out well for me :). The lyrics usually end up somewhere in the writing and I tend to repeat myself.

Update 2:

You're right Hammon Rye, maybe I'm not ready. But I can't think of a better way to learn than to ask questions.

But honestly, I don't think you can judge a writer as you would a Thanksgiving turkey. Writing is a growing process, there is no ready or not ready, no little temperature indicator that pops out when you're "done."

I've been writing since I was 6. Was I ready then? No, but I loved writing. Still do, in fact, and still will when I'm old.

At least I'm able to recognize my weakness and seek help on it, which is a lot more than I can say for some writers.

Update 3:

Sorry, Hamon, misspelled your name... but you called me "man" so...

10 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Sorry, this is very long....

    You are going to go through a lot of first drafts for your novel, Im on my third one for one of them right now, and have already done about five for another one! My beginnings are always changing, at the time, I liked it and it seemed like it would make a perfect beginning, then I wanted a whole new beginning because I didnt like the original one. I changed it, and changed the whole first few chapters. And then again, and again.

    The one I am currently working on, starts off with my main character and her two friends (one is male and the other female) on a Saturday morning at football tryouts because her male friend is trying out for the team. I also introduce two other characters that are going to be there through out the whole novel.

    The first time I wrote it, I started off with her journal entry. It told about how a month and three weeks earlier she had went to a party, got so drunk that she doesnt remember a thing, and how much trouble she was in when her parents found out. (She is a fourteen year old girl by the way) It also said that she wasnt feeling well and stuff; constant need to go to the bathroom, etc. Early pregnancy symptoms. In chapter six, she found out who the guy she had intercourse with was, and the possibility of pregnancy occurred to them both. Took a test, negative. Chapter nine, she ends up in the hospital because she was seriously hurt, she was jumped by some girls. One of the girls happened to be the guys girlfriend and yeah, her, and her family, also find out that she is with child. Her father disowns her and she is kicked out of the house and lives with the child's father, and his family. I had seventeen chapters so far in that one, then I decided to rewrite it. And then again lol. The new one is about two to four months earlier in time than the original, to get to know the characters better and how they live and such.

    In my other one, I started off with my character's alarm clock waking her up and her little brother bringing her the phone. It was her mother on the phone, first thing you love to hear in the morning when you get up is an angry mother yelling at you, right? Then a while later, she is waiting for her father to get out of the bathroom, he gets out, she questions him about some female panties that werent her mothers that she found in the wash the other night (her mom has been away on business for about two months now in a different state, all the way on the other side of the country). She questions him about his secretary, she says he is sleeping around with another woman who isnt her mom, he slaps her hard across the face. (he is abusive, used to be a druggie, an alcoholic, and he raped her a few times when she was little) She then meets some new neighbors that are moving in next door. Etc. That one was just about humans, vampires and werewolves and also a creature I created.

    I decided I wanted to create the vampires family history and stuff and how they became the walking dead. So, I did, which lead me to start all over. A few hundred years earlier. I made a new one that I loved. Then I added some new characters to the story, I wanted to create their past as well. Then there became thousands of years earlier, which then lead me to two million years earlier when one of thee oldest and strongest vampire created a home for vampires. Telling all about their history and stuff like that is pretty quite fun, but it would just be the same if one of them told the story in the beginning or something. Then I started to add more mythical creatures to it; mermaids, elves, dwarfs, dryads, brownies, elementals, giants, ogres, etc. etc. etc. Its finally all coming together now though. :)

    Theres a lot of different ways to start it. It can start as an ordinary old day with something new in it (like my characters day started out the way it always did, and then she seen she had new neighbors moving in). Something horrible could have happened, like the death of a loved one or something and your main character is at the funeral. Something fun is happening, theyre at a party or at a family BBQ or family reunion. He/she is on a date with someone whom she/he thought she liked, but it turns out that that person is a total d*ck or something and the date went horrible for your main character. A camping trip that didnt go as expected. Theres a lot of different ways to start a story. Chances are that it is going to end up changing once again though, a lot of people I know go through so many rough drafts. Ive heard a lot of authors want to change a lot of things in their books once it has already been published.

    EDIT: I agree with what hamon rye said, BUT, not entirely. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and getting help. I like your response btw lol. But there is nothing wrong with asking and getting help, a lot of famous authors do it. They ask family members, friends, etc.

    And theyre right. Dont over think it. I did that, not with the beginning, but with a scene that was going to happen. I made at least twenty different ones and couldnt get the right one. I didnt write for about eight months after that because I was so stuck on that tiny part, I was just trying to write down how I saw a place in my head. It was a new place that my main character was entering, some underground (secret) place where some creatures lived. It took me eight months to finally get it. That whole time I could have came back to that part and written more of it. But then again, I couldnt continue on with a few chapters until I had the place down, but then I could have just skipped the chapters that involved that place. Sorry, lol, just take some of the advice some of the people are giving you, it could really help you later on.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I had the exact problem and to be honest, I never got over it :S

    Anyway, I think you just need to think of a beginning and go with it, write it all out even if its complete Sh|t house. That way you CAN go on and get to the 'good parts' because you still are writing in order... If you get what I'm saying. Once you've finished the book I think you will feel so relieved and happy the start won't seem so important and you will be able to take your time and REALLY write it how you want.

  • I have the same problem - I refuse to skip ahead. I try and give up. The beginning has to be perfect before I continue.

    I suggest forcing yourself to sit down and write for as long as it takes to get past that point. At some time or other you will have to accept your writing as it is and move on. Tell yourself that you can always go back and fix it later. It won't be permanent. I had to do this to myself several times and I know how hard it can be.

    Good luck

  • 9 years ago

    Well, you, perhaps, can create a prologue with an abundance of action or emotion that ties in to your story later on. Then follow that up with an exposition to slow the momentum, leading up to of course, the action or other high point of the story correlating with the genre of your novel

    @hamon rye: I disagree, asking questions is essential when writing. And in that case, EVERYTHING. You cant learn calculus--or anything--by just reading a text book and copying what you see.

    Keep trying different intros, dialogues, monologues, and see what fits. Don't listen to hamon rye, ask questions!

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Sometimes when I start my stories, I start out with something that seems really intense, and usually grabs the reader, for example, someone being pursued down a dark alley, or the sound of gunshots in the distance. Then, the intense scene turns into something mundane, such as the dark alley being in a dream, or the sound of gunfire actually being the sound of firecrackers from the rowdy teenage boys next door. After this resolution of the initial scenario, I start with my character introductions and the exposition of the setting of the story.

  • 9 years ago

    I would just write the dull beginning and move on from it, not worry about it until I'm on the second draft. Think of it this way: If you worry about the beginning, you'll never reach the end. Is it really worth it? Chances are that you won't see what your novel is really like until you've finished it and reread it. How can you do that with a novel that's not even half completed?

    Good luck.

  • 9 years ago

    So you said that the beginning is dull, so maybe it isn't the right beginning. Sometimes, we just have to take a deep breath and let go of what we think we want and just jump into the action. Why can't the action and all the rest be the beginning with an infusion of what you already have?

    Sings, **Chico, Don't be discouraged**



    Haha. Just read your additional details.

  • 9 years ago

    The beginning really has to GRAB the reader... just keep that in mind :D

    My favorite book start out with a glorious twist which left me thinking: WHAT THE HELL???!!

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    seriously man, if you have to ask... you're not ready. write for yourself at first, not to grab attention. until you can write without asking questions, and just write and not stop.... read, and see how other people write and think, and try to write like them... but in your own way.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    sorry i have no idea how to help i just think if you overdo it and try too hard that's when it'll go bad. i think you should relax and it'll just come to you. good luck

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