Thursday, June 23, 2011


One of the questions I asked in my survey to many of you last week had to do with that which makes you put a book down really quick, I mean, once you've started reading it. I loved reading the plethora of answers.

This week, one of our author contributors, Deb Kinnard has offered us a writing tip, which just might give a little insight as to why books turn out as they do sometimes.  Why we grasp onto them so quickly, or maybe why we don't.

After all, if you're a prolific reader, or writer, you need to know why it's not the easiest task in the world, creating that new and perfect story that is guaranteed to melt your heart right from the beginning -- not ten years down the road. 

Let's see what Deb has to say.


 By Deborah Kinnard

Many new writers experience an issue that drove me nutso at first: where to start the story. Of course, in our market the easy answer is often "on your knees," which is always good advice when beginning any new venture! But this is about story, not prayer.

I've had crit partners tell me my tale actually starts on page 8, page 12 or even page 15. Once I'm finished setting my hair on fire, I re-read the pages and discover they're right.

How to tell where the "beginning" is, if it's not right under your Chapter One heading? One way to find the beginning is to look for the moment when everything changes for your main character(s). If you write romance, often it's when He meets She. If you write suspense, it's often the instant the danger begins for your POV character. If yours is a mystery, it's generally the crime or the discovery of the corpse.

It's true that some masterful writers ground us in the everyday before all chaos breaks loose, but we're all agreed that bestselling authors can get away with more than we can. So look for the "change" moment -- often called the "inciting event" that plunges your characters from the mundane into the thrilling, scary, or interesting part of the book.

If all else fails, you can always check out page 15.

Ok, folks, we turn back to you. READER or WRITER. Where do YOU think a story should really begin? Drop us a note if you get a chance and let us know. Everyone wants your thoughts too.

copyright: 2011  - Deb Kinnard

Timeless Romance, Transcendent Faith

SEASONS IN THE MIST, Sheaf House - winner, Grace Awards 2010

POWERLINE, coming this fall

Honored to be a Desert Breeze author


  1. The very first sentence of the Prologue. Then the very first sentence of the Chapter One. Both have to pop out at me.
    Mary Vetter

  2. Must I confess? I'm one of those dastardly readers who skips all prologues. I just cannot bear them. I believe I have developed the attention span of the average mosquito. If I try to read a prologue, I keep muttering, "Get to it, already!"

    Ever read a pop-out, killer first sentence, though, and realize the story STILL didn't start there?


  3. I usually find the story somewhere around page five or six of the first chapter. I haven't met the guy yet, but I'm starting to get to know the heroine, and I like where it's going.
    Muncie, Indiana

  4. I agree with Deb that the story should start at the inciting incident, or immediately before. If we follow the structure of the hero's journey, we can start the story immediately before the inciting incident, in the main character's "ordinary world." Doing so cam make the inciting incident more dramatic by virtue of its contrast with the character's ordinary world. But be careful about starting too far before the inciting incident. Most readers today want to get right into the story.

  5. The story should start just prior to that moment that will change the character's life forever. All the backstory can be filled in later...little by little, like spice!