I always find starting a new novel so easy. There’s that level of excitement you have—you’re armed with your idea and you’re rearing to go. I can sit down at the computer and churn out a first chapter in no time flat.
But that’s when things get a bit more difficult. Once that opener is done, once you’re done with that initial burst of adrenaline, you find yourself alone again with the blank page. You’ve begun something, you’ve introduced your characters, your setting, and now you’ve made the reader a promise. And you’ve got to deliver on that promise.
Your characters need to be fully fleshed out, the situations you put them into reasonable, or at least feasible. You’ve got to keep your voice consistent throughout the novel, and you’ve got to make sure your tone remains steady. There’s nothing readers hate more than starting out a novel that they think is one thing, only to end up with another thing entirely.
Your novel needs to have a good beginning—most people won’t read more than your first chapter unless they are immediately engaged (or first line, if you’re like me), but your novel also needs to live up to the promise that you make the reader in that first chapter.
Lots of people can start a novel or have an idea for a novel—just ask anyone I’ve ever met at a cocktail party—but most people won’t actually finish writing a novel.
Beginnings are really important, but finishing is the hard part.
What’s your favorite part of a novel? Is it the beginning? And for you writers out there, what part is your favorite part to write—the beginning, middle or end?