How to begin your book? Three ways to get started on your novel

How to begin your book?

It’s a question to which every author seeks an answer every time he or she begins a new work. I believe very firmly that every book needs a different approach. But how to approach the beginning so that your novel can get going with ease and it’s not just that you write better but your readers also enjoy reading it.

There is no foolproof way, but the following tips will help you get your story into gear. Basically you can start your story in three different ways. It depends on you and your style of writing which way you pick to write the beginning of your novel. So do you,

Plan beforehand:

In your mind, you have already charted the beginning, middle and the end of the book. You have a clear idea what you want to convey to the readers and hence you start with where you want the story to take off. This usually involves a peek into the character and a look at the character’s life or what is called as story world. Then you work up to the inciting incident.

You can begin straightaway with action but that’s more difficult to carry off because the reader needs to have a clear idea where or how the action started.

If you are a plotter this would be your favored method to write. Or you could,

Write as you go:

You have no idea what your story consists of. You don’t know the end. You have a brilliant story idea and you can’t wait to put down the words.

In this case, you had better put down everything that comes to your mind. This type of free flow writing or pantsing will require rewrites and probably re-rewrites before you get your story done. So, in any case you will be rewriting your beginning. Yes, you can absolutely do that after you finish the book. In fact, many authors prefer to write the beginning afterwards. It can be crystal clear where it is just a muddy pool of ideas when you began the story.

If you want to write free flow, to avoid wasting time, it’s better to know three things:

The heart of your story – what is your story about. Why should anyone give a damn about what you are writing.

Your character’s journey – What is the endpoint your character is striving for? It can be a physical, emotional or spiritual goal, but it is sensible to at least have some idea of it.

Your story genre – How you are going to tie up the ends may depend on what genre you are writing. In romance, for example, it’s customary to have a happy-ever-after. In horror, things almost always end up worse. In inspirational stories, the protagonist learns a lesson, though he or she may not get what they wanted at the beginning of the story.

Or you can be the one who follows,

Middle path:

If you have a rough idea of how story is going to progress, you can probably choose right away how to begin the story with maximum impact. I prefer to strongly visualize the beginning – often the beginning is so strong for me that the rest of the story has to be stirred to gel with it. I might even change the character’s profession or the location of the story to fit in with the beginning. It might be different or the same for you. But if you fix the beginning right away, you won’t have to come back and face the change again.

Be careful that your beginning straightaway fixes the reader in the location and time of your story e.g. is it medieval India or Planet X-8i4 in 2095 or present day NYC? The reader should be grounded in the setting. At the same time, exposition about what your character has been through in their life or what they did all afternoon is to be avoided. As soon as you can, bring the focus on the moment of action i.e. what is happening that is of importance? What is propelling your story to take off in the direction you have envisioned?

It’s hard to list all the finer points needed to make the beginning shine, but hope this gives you a better idea of how you want to go about writing down the first few hundred words of your novel. Do leave a comment how you liked this post and anything else you want to share or ask about book beginnings.

For more information on how to get going on your book, check out my book Begin Your Book, easy steps to build your fiction step by step, dealing with chapters, scenes, characters, writer’s block etc.

Click here to buy:

#Snippet from Tahir and Samara’s story

Posting another snippet from my work in progress. I have done a lot of writing and rewriting of this story and the fun thing is that the characters continue to surprise me and reveal new facets of their story. So although editing is a pain, the thought that it’s making my ms better, keeps me going 🙂

So here’s a small excerpt. Let me know how you like it…it would be nice to have some feedback.

It’s when their interaction leads to things heating up.

She held his gaze. Direct. Steady. And things changed between them as he’d meant them to, the temperature rising. Only he was caught as well. How could this unlikely girl arouse such a potent awareness in him so that he found himself locked in the hazel pools of her eyes, pulled in till he had no volition and was only aware when he found he was cupping her jaw, bending almost near enough to kiss her and then it didn’t matter because a bare couple of inches didn’t take much to cover. Not when he was being sucked in by a force larger than his resistance. Not when the prize was the contact of her soft lips. And he needed to touch those, have them under his, taste the ripe flavor of her heat , soft and sweet and infinitely giving. Then he was tasting it all.  Arousing. Passionately generous…

So this is it for now. Forgot to sign up today. So no more snippets today…just this small offering 🙂

#Sexysnippet from #TahirandSamara’s story

Here’s another offering for the #sexysnippet initiative of the Nuthouse Scribblers. This one is from Samara’s pov as she gets too hot under the collar in the elevator with Tahir.


Read on…


“Chin up and bear it, Samara. And for God sake don’t let him see it.

Which was about as easy as the research for potential sites for factories she’d finished compiling for him this morning. The very thought of that gaze today made her go hot and cold. She couldn’t be in the elevator with him without getting all jumpy inside. A five-minute break in her workday had her imagining herself in a leather mini and six inch stilettos, swaggering over to tip a glazed eyed Tahir back in his chair and trap him.


She found herself suddenly pinned by a coffee dark glance. ‘What were you thinking of back there anyway?’

Something in the question made her cheeks heat up. ‘Chocolate.’ She blurted.

‘On whom?’

On whom? What the – The rough demand made her collar tie feel tight and her hand immediately went to it as though to loosen it. She had an image of him – shirtless – as the Samara in mini and stilettos dipped a brush in brown liquid and smoothed sweetness over his golden skin.

Chocolate and him! Swoon. A lethal combination.

She so needed to get a hold on this crush of hers. Heat rose around her collar. The elevator doors swished open and she forgot propriety enough to rush out in front of him”


So did you like it? For more snippets, check out the