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7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel

7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel
Earlier this week, I read “Poppies,” a short story by Ulrica Hume, one of our authors on Story Cartel. Initially, I had only planned on skimming a few pages, but the first line hooked me. Before long, I was finishing the last page.1 Great first lines have that power, the power to entice your reader enough that it would be unthinkable to set the book down. How, then, do you write the perfect first line? Free Guide: Want to become a writer? This post is about what makes great first lines great. Note that some of these lines are a bit longer than one sentence. By the way, if you haven’t already read Monica Clark’s excellent post about writing the perfect first page from Monday, you should read it immediately. Let’s get started, shall we? Perfect First Lines Are Vivid Here’s the line from Ulrica Hume’s “Poppies” that caught my attention. I was born upside down, the umbilical cord looped twice around my neck. It’s a simple sentence, but I love it. Isn’t that a cool image? Mr. and Mrs. Related:  StructureWriting TipsWriting Resources

How to Make Readers Feel Emotion on January 30th, 2011 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on February 8, 2011 I wrote an article on the importance of creating emotions in readers, but I’ve noticed that writers are looking for specifics on how to accomplish that. So, this article complements that first one, presents practical tips on how to stir the reader’s emotions. Readers like to be touched, moved, by story. Fiction, whether in book or film or games, allows people to not only step into other worlds, but to experience those worlds. Since readers want to immerse themselves in other worlds and other lives, what can writers do to make that experience authentic, to make the fictional world real for a few hours? One technique the writer can make use of to create reality out of fiction is to induce emotion in readers, make them feel something of what the characters are experiencing. But how can a writer accomplish this? 1. This is a major key for rousing reader emotions. 2. Help your readers know your characters.

Clean Up Your Narration: Four Tips For Fiction Writers Photo courtesy of suzerain Editor’s note: This guest post is from FekketCantenel, dreaded she-raptor moderator from the Zen Habits forums. I have yet to read an all-dialog novel. In fiction, narration is critical for establishing many elements, including scenery, character appearance, and action. Despite (or perhaps because of) its importance, smooth narration is one of the hardest skills for an aspiring writer to master. It’s easy to get lost in long, flowery paragraphs of clever prose stuffed with adjectives, adverbs, undecipherable in-jokes, and repetition. While I believe that narration must be mastered by the individual author, I hope that these tips — hard-learned in my own life of writing — will make the process a lot clearer and a little less embarrassing. 1. I think that for a lot of people, this popular and sometimes over-quoted rule of thumb is hard to apply. ex. 1. This fits fine; you can easily picture a man with red, bushy hair. ex. 2. This doesn’t translate. a. ex. 3. b. c.

Seven Common Character Types Seven Common Character Types by Terry W. Ervin II Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the standard definitions of protagonist (the main character in a literary work) and antagonist (the main character or force that opposes the protagonist in a literary work), recognizing the types of characters and the parts they play while reading an interesting story can add to the experience. In addition, a fuller understanding of the character types and their uses can increase a writer’s effectiveness in weaving his own fictional tales. Below is a list of common character types, followed by an explanation and short example. Confidante- someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions. Example: In a story, Melvin Sanders is a detective on the trail of a serial killer. In this example Chops is a confidante. In this example Ebenezer Scrooge is a dynamic character. Copyright © Terry W.

A quick overview of the Hero’s Journey | Jordan McCollum Planning out a novel? Be sure to join my newsletter for a FREE plotting/revision roadmap, and check out the full series on plotting novels in a free PDF! Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at two plotting methods. One helped us parse our story into parts, the other helped us grow it from an idea. But a weakness of both is that neither really tells us what kind of events we need in a story—especially in the sagging middle. The Hero’s Journey is based on the universal archetype work of Carl Jung, as applied by Joseph Campbell. I first learned about the hero’s journey in high school. Ahem. The Hero’s Journey The story begins in The Ordinary World. Then comes the Call to Adventure. Normally, the hero isn’t interested. Fear doesn’t have to be the only reason for refusal—he may also have noble reasons, or perhaps other characters are preventing him from leaving (on purpose or inadvertently). Sometimes it takes a mentor to get the hero on the right path. The Ordeal. What do you think?

The Biggest Mistake New Writers Make and 5 Ways to Avoid It by Anne R. Allen It's been an exciting week for the blog. Marketing expert Penny Sansevieri named us to the Top 30 Websites for Indies and blog guru Molly Greene named us to her list of must-read "leaders" in self-publishing. (I'm only recently self-published—and most of my work is still with a small press—but I'll wear the "indie" label proudly.) We also got some lovely kudos from superstar author Anne Rice, who linked to the blog from her FB page and said her readers were "deeply grateful" for our tips and insights. I also heard from the producer of a new film about The David Whiting Story which is the subject of my novel The Gatsby Game. All that, along with getting interviewed by the women's magazine More about my novel No Place Like Home have made me feel pretty good about the way my career is heading. But no way have I forgotten how it felt to be down at the bottom of the publishing ladder, trapped on the query-go-round, desperately hoping for the smallest bit of encouragement.

50 of the Best Websites for Writers There are tons of reference sites on the web that can help you find a job or write a poem, essay or story. Here is a list of the best 50 websites for writers. Reference Websites Merriam-Webster Online - Merriam Webster is the perfect place to look up words and find information. The site offers a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, podcasts, word games and a lot of other things that may be of interest to writers and word-lovers. Bartleby - This site is good if you need a quote or if you want free access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, and other reference books. General Writing Websites Writer's Digest - Probably one of the best all-around websites for writers, Writer's Digest offers information on writing better and getting published. Fiction Writing Websites About.com - About.com publishes a Guide to Fiction Writing with general information about fiction writing and a number of community forums for both current and aspiring writers. Nonfiction Writing Websites

102 Resources for Fiction Writing « Here to Create UPDATE 1/10: Dead links removed, new links added, as well as Revision and Tools and Software sections. Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration. Also, I recommend some resources for Revision and some online Tools and Software. Too many links? 10 Days of Character Building Name Generators Name Playground The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Priming the idea pump (A character checklist shamlessly lifted from acting) How to Create a Character Seven Common Character Types Handling a Cast of Thousands – Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters It’s Not What They Say . . . Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid “Stepping Out of Character” How to Start Writing in the Third Person Web Resources for Developing Characters Speaking of Dialogue

Fiction Writing --Add Color and Impact--The Writer’s Craft

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