Thursday, February 09, 2017



Hello, all my family and friends. Welcome to my crazy world of becoming an author. Last I looked, there are around 370 followers of this blog. I hope to get many more. To some of you who are new to following me, I try to write something each week that may, or may not, help you in your writing career.

Alternatively, you're following me just because you like me. I like to think both motives are in play here. (Oh, and P.S. I have no idea who took the picture above. If that person wants me to quit using it, he/she can let me know, but I like it. It depicts the setting for my novel BRIDGETOWN HIGH.)

So, what would you like to read about in future blog posts? Attach a message to the end of this message and let me know.

Today, I thought I might talk about beginning to write a novel. I've covered this in the past but I still see writers making the same mistakes. I think the biggest mistake I see wannabe authors make is to begin the story by larding on tons of back story and descriptions, all that boring stuff that "NEEDS" to be explained what led up to the point where the real story begins." NOT!

If you expect a reader to spend money and time with your book, you need to capture that reader's interest on the first page, preferably by introducing the main character and his/her terrible trouble in the first paragraph, or even the first sentence, if possible. I know that's a tough thing to do, but capturing that terrible, troubling incident on page 1 is imperative if you don't want to lose your reader. Then, you need to follow up by plunging that main character into worse trouble as the story evolves.
Consider "LITTLE WOMEN" by Louisa May Alcott. She begins her story with 4 young girls worrying about the upcoming Christmas. Their father is away at war, they have no money for gifts and think the season is going to be horrible.

That's terrible trouble in their mind.

Next, consider my novel, "BRIDGETOWN HIGH." The story begins with Mark Wilkerson wanting to throw up if he had to listen to any more of that morbid organ music in the funeral parlor. As the first page develops, we learn his parents were all killed in an automobile crash, and the story grow even worse when we learn he and one of his sisters were the only survivors and he can't remember any of it but wants to get even with the hit-and-run driver.

As a former critique moderator, I can't count on how many stories I've read that begin with background descriptions. Some don't even introduce the man character until the second or third chapter. How smart is that? Once I pointed that out to writers, suddenly their novel took off and became exciting.

So, what do you do with all that back story?

Well, probably much, or even most of it can be tossed in the electronic trash can. You need to decide whether it's needed. As for the rest, it can be added bit-by-bit in some dialog, or in actions in the real story.

Okay. So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel.
(By the way, the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)
See y'all next week.

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, February 09, 2017

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