Thursday, October 11, 2012

Baby Evil Writers 101: Starting a Book- Characteristic Entry Action

Since I’m the newest minion of evil here at the Evil League of Evil Writers, I've decided to use my powers to corrupt the newest and most tender baby writers. So those of you with your feet firmly on the crooked path of doom might already know the stuff I’ll blog about.

Baby Evil Writers 101: Starting a Book- Characteristic Entry Action
Julie Butcher

There are as many ways to begin a book as there are writers with ideas. (Actually a lot more because each writer has a dozen or more ways the book can start wandering around in their head). But how do you choose there where, and the when, for the reader to meet your main character?
When we meet a new person in real life, what they’re doing at the time has an effect on how we’ll view them forever. I don’t know about you, but if the first time I see someone, they’re taking a leak in the alley. I’m so way not impressed. I don’t want to meet them, or to get to know them better. The shock value of starting a story with a horrible/slimy/eww-worthy incident isn't worth losing the reader.

Heroes can be evil but they aren't douche bags.

A Characteristic Entry Action should crystallize your main character’s soul. Not all of it, of course, but it needs to focus on who they are and what they believe is right. If your hero is a man who rescues people in secret, superhero fashion. He might be giving his cab to an old person. He doesn't have to like it, and he can be snarking away at himself because he’s the one left in the rain with no umbrella and no ride but, he does it anyway because that’s who he is.
Take a step back and really look at your first page. It might surprise you. Remember, you only get one chance at a first impression.


  1. In my first book, when we meet the hero, Michael, he's driving a dented, beat up truck and running late to a meeting with the heroine. By the end of the third chapter, we realize the man has the soul of an Eagle Scout with superhero tendencies.

  2. First page does have to pull us in. It's very important. Thanks for the post Julie! Wonderful to meet you.


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