Want to write a novel? Basically it's very simple. Get started, then stop when you've written anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 words -- and don't be boring while you write those words.
Writers seem to have more trouble with starting a novel than with anything else. This article, 4 Goals for a Novel's Opening Chapter — Fiction Notes, offers some great advice:
"Start with a scene. Unless you are definitely writing a character novel, you should start with a scene. There’s a beginning: A character goes into a situation with a goal. "
Look at it this way: you start with someone in a heap of trouble, then with each scene, you make that trouble worse. In between making life challenging for this character, you bring in other characters, who are also in big trouble... then you make their trouble worse.
A novel isn't real life. In a novel, characters have goals, and they struggle to achieve those goals.
Don't start your novel with your character waking up one bright morning -- or any morning. If you start out with that, you'll be tempted to tell us all about him, or her. We don't care about the brand of toothpaste your character uses, or that he normally just has toast for breakfast, unless that toothpaste or toast is poisoned. We want to see your main character (and unless you have good reason, you should start with your main character) in big trouble as soon as possible.
In a nutshell: make sure your character is in heaps of trouble, and then make sure that he uses everything he has to get out of that trouble.
What does your character most want in the world? Make him work to get it. Someone once said that when you write a novel, you start with your character up a tree, and then you throw rocks at him. Be unkind -- make life a struggle for your character. Your readers will love it.
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