What’s the best way to begin a novel? Personally, I don’t think there are any right or wrong ways to start (though I’m sure plenty (e.g. Sambuchino, 2013) would disagree) – but I do think that the beginning needs to achieve something; it needs to add texture to the story.

I’ve grabbed a couple of books to see how their authors have tackled the beginning, and hopefully I’ll learn a thing or two from them.

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Narrative Viewpoint (The Man in the High Castle)

I used to think narrative viewpoint was one of the easiest decisions I could make when writing. I’ve never liked first-person (to tell the truth, I even find writing this post a little uncomfortable) so I tend to write in third-person, using he/she/they, and I’ve never thought about how viewpoint affects the ‘craft’ of my work.

I’m going to use this post to think about the various options I have for my current writing project. Maybe at the end I’ll stick with how I’ve always done it but at least I’ll know why I chose it – and hopefully I’ll be able to use it to my advantage.

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Fictional Geology

The project I’m currently working on is set on a pair of planets, arranged like Pluto and Charon. Typically (I’m certainly not original, that’s for sure) one planet is very wet (like, super wet) and one planet is very dry (like, super dry). The plot follows the establishment of a small colony on the dry planet. It’s full of xenophobia, mystery and sabotage. There is a struggle to collect and store water from underground and because I’m a sucker for geology, I want to make sure that the dry planet makes sense; that it could actually be possible (at least vaguely!) to have a planet where 95% of the water is trapped underground.

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Books You Should Read (In My Opinion…)

Sometimes me and my friend like go on long walks together and we usually end up summarising whole novels in horrible, inaccurate ways as we stumble over rocks and wade through mud. Recently he leant me a couple of books that he’d mentioned on one of these walks and then asked for a list of all the books I’d mentioned to him. I couldn’t remember half of them, but I came up with a small list to give him and I figured I would share it here too!

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