HOW TO BEGIN
Do you struggle to get started?
Do you ever get stuck presenting all the background info that your novel requires?
Do you worry your reader isn't hooked — from page one?
This video presents a framework to help you start your novel in a simple, gripping way.
You won't have to write an outline.
You won't have to learn any kind of "structure."
You only need to be able to answer a few questions about your main character.
As you'll see, this approach focuses on the idea of the "three appeals."
It suggests that the opening of your story should quickly offer your reader three separate pleasures.
In other words, your first ten pages should
- engage the reader's curiosity
- allow them to bond with the protagonist
- grab their attention with conflict and drama
Maybe that sounds complicated: it really isn't. In fact, it's a natural, instinctive approach to telling a good story.
The video also suggests the order in which you should deliver each reading pleasure, because I want to make this writing thing as easy as possible for you.
Now let's write!
I hate it when writing teachers just explain a lofty idea and then exit stage left.
Theories can be great (I should know, I did a PhD) but without practice and application, they don't help much on their own.
So, if you enjoyed the video, and would like to try those techniques out, now it's time to actually get writing: I've prepared a printable worksheet for you to download.
You will fill out, in six boxes, a sketch of your novel's first ten pages.
You'll also see an example from me, a sketch of a novel's opening. I made this story up just now -- it's a novel I haven't written yet, about a guitarist with a crush and a secret identity online.
In other words, you'll see an illustration of the techniques from the video.
Click the yellow button, below, to register for the printable.
GET THE WORKSHEET HERE:
PS Now, just to let you know what's coming, when you click the link, you'll see a sign up form for your email address. This video is part one of the series, and there are four more lessons in the whole "seminar."
I'll share the remaining lessons over the next few days, and when the series is complete, if you're still interested, I'll tell you about some of the other courses I offer.
What other writers say:
Daniel’s courses are chock full of useful information.
"Not all good writers are good teachers, but Daniel David Wallace (a talented, thoughtful writer himself) is a terrific instructor. If you can take a class with him, do it!"
JULIA BROWN // Editor and author
Is it weird that I think of him as my literary midwife? Because I totally do.
"Daniel respected my work and vision on a profound level but also had a keen editorial eye and a stroke of literary genius that took everything I’d written to the next level."
TAWNI WATERS // Award-Winning Author of The Long Ride Home & Beauty of the Broken
Why this method works
When I was starting out as a writer, I really worried how to start a novel.
How much information did readers need?
Did I need to begin with a fight -- or with a monologue?
Above all, how could I be interesting?
I studied all kinds of approaches.
I read guides and attended workshops, but I continued to feel confused.
Often, a particular theory would give advice about how to get to page twenty-five, or page one-hundred (the "call to action" or the "inciting incident"), but this didn't help me, because I wanted to know what I should put on page one.
I wasn’t looking for a magic trick.
I knew that every story would be different and unique, but I wanted a more reliable framework for than just "start writing."
Even after I landed an agent for my first work-in-progress, I was still curious about this problem.
I eventually did a PhD in creative writing. I researched narrative form, rhetorical appeals, and the science of skill acquisition.
I ended up creating a simple, low stress guide to help you write the first ten pages of a novel-length story.
Now, fiction is a huge and diverse art form, and this model won't work for every kind of story, but chances are, it will probably be useful for your novel-project.
So far, it has worked for many of the writers I have coached.
Join the Seminar
More videos are coming.
During this "novel writing seminar," I'll share techniques and printable worksheets for:
- picking a good narrator for your story
- creating a protagonist who takes action
- avoiding stress and blockages
- knowing when to STOP researching
- building an outline with boxes and arrows
These are the same techniques I've taught to dozens of writers.
It's a comprehensive, free course for aspiring novelists.