There is nothing as powerful as a changed mind
You can change your hair color, your clothing, your address, your spouse ...
But if you don't change your mind, the same results will happen again and again and again.
Most people will never grow because
they will not step up and raise their acceptable standard,
working through whatever barriers are holding them back.
WHERE TO START?
For writers that is the unsettling question they ask themselves when they face that first blank page.
When you step through your fears, you transcend the old you.
We writers will find that our books will flow easier ... once we start them.
What will be your first paragraph ... your first sentence ... your first word?
What is your opening supposed to do?
Your beginning must grab the reader's attention
and compel her or him to keep on reading to find out what happens next.
It should be evocative of the novel as a whole.
It is really THREE QUESTIONS.
1.) THE ARTISTIC QUESTION
What is your story about? Do you have the basic plot down ...
or like William Faulkner with his THE SOUND AND THE FURY, do you only have a vivid image from which to start?
2.) THE LOGISTIC QUESTION
This deals with the technical aspects of the story:
Who is telling the story? Third person or first person?
Where is the story taking place?
When does the story take place (era) and in the lives of the characters (developmental).
How do you portray the plot of the story? Backwards or forward or back and forth as with LORD JIM.
What does the MC want and why? Who blocks the road to that goal and why?
What effect do you want to make on the reader?
The answers to these questions will shape your novel in ways that will have long-range consequences.
3.) THE PSYCHOLOGICAL QUESTION
Most of us go through life with our brakes on. Step on the gas!
Give yourself over totally to your dream. Believe in your self enough to pound at those keys EVERY DAY.
Decide you are going to push yourself to write every day better than you did yesterday.
Each day is YOUR day. Persevere each hour, each day, each week, each month ...
And you will see an improvement in your work.
In your beginning have your character driven by need
to walk through a doorway of no return as with Caesar crossing the Rubicon.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT
You have 10 SECONDS to hook your reader or editor ... that's your first paragraph.
That 10 SECOND fact applies to the beginning of each chapter.
In THE GOOD GUY by Dean Koontz,
a lonely man in a bar is mistakenly paid by a stranger to kill a woman.
The real hit man sits next to him soon after.
And the man gives the down payment to the killer to NOT KILL the woman.
He knows that soon both men will realize what has happened ...
and his life and the woman's will be in deadly jeopardy.
The rest of the novel flows from there.
Conflict only rivets attention if EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT has been established.
Your novel isn't about your MC --
It is about things HAPPENING to your MC, crafted in a way that makes us care about her or him.
In the start of THE GOOD GUY,
we see a lonely man for whom the bartender cares and for whom he is deeply concerned.
We see the lonely, haunted man sucked into a situation that makes us ask what we would do in a similar situation.
Koontz tells us less, not more.
He opens with a situation in which his protagonist has to react, make decisions, take action.
He had something vital at stake in the opening scene.
Koontz Shows us who the MC is
via those decisions and actions, and thus makes us care about who he was, as well as who he will become.
I hope this has helped in some way.