Category Archives: Openings

Character Introductions: Making the Right Impression

Many aspects of writing can be hard to get right, especially in our first draft. For just two examples: With our story beginning, we might struggle to find a good balance between a throat-clearing boring scene (before getting to the … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Motivation, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, worldbuilding, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 Comments

Why All Writers Need A Structural Toolbox

What Is A Structural Toolbox? Put simply, a structural toolbox is the foundation work all writers need to put in to ensure they … understand how structure works can apply structural techniques to their writing Think of it as a … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Middles, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Theme, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 13 Comments

Storytelling Decisions: What’s the Right Pace for Your Story?

As we learn to write, we often hear about the need to create a strong pace in our story. Many seem to think that a strong pace requires a fast pace. However, that’s not what’s meant by strong. So what … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Characters, Conflict, Description, Endings, Middles, Openings, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

Build a Bridge: From Story Beginning to Main Conflict

During one of my previous posts as a Resident Writing Coach, we talked about the importance of strong goals for helping our story move forward. But as we discussed in the comments of that post, our characters can start off … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Openings, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

Story Structure in a Flash

Story structure can sometimes be difficult to wrap our minds around; there are so many different structures, all with different terminology and slightly different meanings. But today I’m going to hopefully simplify things by covering how I view story structure—in … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Endings, Openings, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Villains, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Beginnings and Backstory

You will find writers who argue that there should be no backstory at all in your first chapters. Why not? Because, by definition, backstory is what has happened before your narrative opens, and you want to establish the action first, … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Editing Tips, Empathy, Openings, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

The Mother Lode of First Page Resources

As many of you know, I run a monthly critique contest here at the blog, where I offer to read first pages and share my feedback. People are so grateful to win, but I have to ask: who’s the real … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Emotion, Empathy, Openings, Pacing, Point of View, Show Don't Tell, Voice | 7 Comments

How to Nail the First Three Pages

Let’s face it, talking about writing the first pages of a novel is stressful. It can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned writer, because as writers we all know how scarily narrow the window is, and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Build Character Empathy in Your First Few Pages

You may not be aware, but I’m kind of obsessed with first pages and chapters. They’re not the end-all-be-all for keeping your audience engaged, but it’s definitely true that if you lose readers in the opening, you risk losing them … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Character Wound, Empathy, Openings, Reader Interest | 14 Comments

Garlic Breath For Writers (aka, Bad First Pages)

“If you cannot write a compelling opening scene, from the opening sentence, I’m not going to finish your proposal.” – Agent, speaking at a recent writers conference The opening page of your novel is your big introduction. It’s what an … Continue reading

Posted in Openings, Point of View, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized | 16 Comments