In the spirit of Hazel’s focus on people, I want to examine how Hawes establishes such a large cast of memorable characters. In both the opening and in introducing new characters throughout the book, Hawes uses voice, descriptions, and mood to establish characters quickly.
This summer, we’re introducing a new series called In Summary, where we collect up some of our favorite posts on different craft topics. Our first post is on BEGINNINGS. Beginnings give writers the opportunity to capture a reader’s attention, to draw them into the story, to give them a sense of the tone, style, and point of view, as well as whether the character is one they want to spend time with. Beginnings can be slow or fast, voicey or reflective, action-driven or character-driven. There’s no one right way to start a story. But there are more and less effective openings for each particular story. These posts will help you determine what choices you have as you write and revise your opening and prompt you to experiment. We hope you get inspired!
“This isn’t specific to PB writers, but I would just say to any writer: Be kind to yourself and your drafts. Many writers, myself included, struggle with self-criticism or perfectionism, so I try to give myself this advice daily. First drafts can and should be messy. Second and third and seventh drafts, too. There is beauty in the mess. Writing is mostly re-writing. When you’re feeling discouraged, reach out to some writer friends for support. Seek community.”
Today, let’s look at a middle grade novel–one very different in style and tone–to see how well framed questions can guide the reader through the first chapter.
One way to be sure your first chapter will have the effect you want is to focus on what questions will arise in the readers’ minds as they read, and then revise to control those questions to serve your purpose.
craft review by Anne-Marie Strohman Figuring out the opening for a novel can be daunting. We know we need to draw our readers in, to make them want to turn the page. And we have so many choices! Even with the myriad ways to open a novel, there are some basic strategies that underlie even […]