Writers Basic Training – The Beginning & Setting


The beginning of your novel is absolutely important. How you begin can grab the reader’s attention or lose that attention.


Use action words or shock to get story started

An example of this could be as simple as: Ten minutes from now Jed would be dead.

That is an example of shock. Right off the bat the reader is told of something drastic that is to come.

Here is an example of action: Joseph struggled as his brothers cast him into the pit.

In my story The World of Joseph I used  that scene – not that sentence – to start the story. In that case I was using a scene rather than a sentence. And that is fine if you want to do that.

I used a scene instead of a sentence in which I describe something that would happen further in the book. The scene was there to provide action and to grab the reader’s interest immediately.

But that is advanced writing. Right now you need to master the skill of using the first, second, and, possibly, the third sentence.


Here is another important principle: Show don’t tell.

As a writer the temptation is to write a lot of prose; to tell the reader what the scene looks like and what is going on.

Some novice writers  make the mistake of telling everything about the world their character lives in right up front. But it is better if you let the reader learn more about the setting as they travel through the book.