|BANNER CREATED by LK HUNSAKER|
The person asking, as a general rule, accepts that and moves along. Readers don't really want to hear a long explanation--I'm fairly certain of that. But I should have a good concise answer.
Most readers believe authors have some mechanism inside their brains that turn on the writing gene. Maybe we do, and even though most people believe they could never do that, I bet they could! After all, if I can write novels, so can almost anyone.
To help with the question, I asked a few friends, "How do you begin a novel?" They gave me some wonderful answers. See for yourself.
Maggie Toussaint (Death, Island Style, a Cozy Mystery--Available now)
I begin a novel with an idea. Sometimes a picture or a situation jogs the idea, but the idea won’t let me be until I get it fleshed out. Then I make sure the characters inhabiting that idea are at cross-purposes and have the most to lose by someone else attaining their goal. My goal as an author is to marry plot to character from the start of the novel and carry that uneasy alliance through the story to a satisfying conclusion.
LK Hunsaker (Rehearsal: Of Chaotic Currents, due Dec. 2012, Literary Romance With An Artsy Twist)
My novels always begin with a particular situation, personal or social, and then a character builds around that situation as he or she tries to figure out how to handle it. It rolls around in my head a while as the character starts to breathe, then I open a new file and start writing. Research is done as I need it.
Barbara Edwards (Ancient Awakening, Intense Romance With an Edge-Available now)
My books always start from a vivid dream. I wake up with an important scene playing in my head, usually the beginning and I know the ending, too. Takes me time to fill in the middle. The best part is I have seen the most important person either hero or heroine, sometimes both.
Cheryl Pierson (Temptation's Touch, Romantic Suspense-Available now)
Every story I've ever written comes from one key scene that I want to write. It can be in the middle, toward the end, or close to the beginning. I don't usually outline until I'm well on my way into the story, and even then it's a "timeline" rather than an outline of the plot points. If I can start with one scene, I can write forward or backward from it. Another thing that helps is having an idea as to what time of year it is going to be set in.
Stephanie Burkhart (A Gentleman and a Rogue, A Steampunk Romance, release date Nov. 11)
I outline a rough plot, knowing there's room for change. I then cast the characters and make character bios. Then I research the setting. Lastly, I plot out the opening, trying to make it "action" orientated with the hero/heroine involved.
Now, I have a better idea of how stories come to me. My stories always begin with a character, either a man or a woman. The person is in some sort of scene--
A man walking along a dusty road--Why is he walking on a road? What catches his attention? How is he dressed? Why is he dressed that way?
A young woman waits for the train to arrive--Who is she waiting for? Is she anxious or happy? How is she dressed? Where is the location of the train depot?
A well dressed young woman running away in a horse and buggy--Why is she dressed up to run away? Whose buggy is it? Who is she running from? What did this person do to make her run away?
Now, I get it. It's clearer now how I begin a story. Always with a character--never the scenery or the weather or any other explanation.
As varied as these answers are, I suspect each writer has her/his own way of beginning a story.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
My Facebook Page