When crafting your novel, you may find that the first pages you write aren’t where your story really begins. Here are some tips to help you choose and polish an effective first scene.
Good first scenes include . . .
· One distinctive point of view through which readers can experience the scene.
· Conflict: something real at stake.
· Hooks: story questions that pull the reader from the first sentence on and from each paragraph to the next.
· A resolution and a new hook into the next scene.
· Clear, concise sentences.
· The protagonist’s ultimate need: a hint at the resolution of the novel.
Good first scenes don’t include . . .
· A protagonist who’s confused about what’s going on.
· Characters in harmony, a lone character simply thinking, or a dream sequence. (No real stakes.)
· Info dumps: characters or a narrator summarizing what happened offscreen.
· Only unanswered questions and unresolved conflict.
· Complex, overwritten sentences. Unnecessary descriptors, repetition, redundancies, or clichés.
· Unclear character motivation.
After you’ve polished your first scene, see how many of these concepts you can apply to the rest of your manuscript.
We look forward to reviewing your work.