What are the most important things to include in your opening chapter? Establish your setting. Introduce elements of your protagonists conflict. Raise important story questions. Make your reader care about your character. Read on to find out more!
Character Voice is as difficult to pin down as it is critical. Plenty of writing advice resources talk about the importance of your main characters each having a unique voice, but how do you achieve that? The main problem is that all of those characters are essentially coming from the same mind – yours – so you need to find ways to ensure your personal characteristics, speech patterns and nuances don’t all bleed into your characters.
The way I draft is an extension of the way I approach novel planning as a whole - which is to start with a simple concept and then add more and more detail until I have a fairly comprehensive outline. With drafting that means starting with a rough outline and slowly fleshing it out and adding detail, tweaking and weaving until it is finished, polished prose. I try to approach each draft with different priorities in mind so I can focus on tackling particular elements of story-telling at each stage while setting aside other aspects for later so I don’t get bogged down trying to do too much at once. In this article, I give details about the objective I assign to each draft, how I prepare for that draft (i.e. what I do in advance) and then the technique I use when actually writing it. I’ve also added a very rough guide to projected timescales and a bullet point summary of each stage.