Christine Warner, author of Some Like It in Handcuffs, here to talk about book beginnings. Here is a quick blurb of her new book:
Sunny Kennedy is a fledgling private investigator and the only girl in a family of protective male detectives. She’s out to prove testosterone isn’t the main qualification required to solve a cold case. The only things standing in her way are a sexy detective and a killer who will stop at nothing to keep a secret.
Judson Blackwolf, a seasoned homicide detective, thinks women in law enforcement should work behind the scenes. The prospect of working with his Captain’s sexy daughter doesn’t thrill him.
But when their investigation takes a dangerous turn, they realize their feelings for each other, tangled in a web from the past, might not be the only thing to keep them apart.
Now it's your turn, Christine!
Where to Begin?
Life is full of beginnings.
The beginning of summer, the beginning of school, the beginning of friendships, the beginning of a marriage, the beginning of parenthood, car payments, mortgages, career…the list is endless. But one of the best beginnings is the beginning of a book. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting down to enjoy a good read.
Now, depending on which area you are coming from, the beginning of a book can go two ways. There is the beginning for the reader and the beginning for the writer. Let’s talk about the writer, because in essence what happens at the writer’s level determines what happens at the reader’s level.
For a writer, the beginning of their much anticipated story — the one that has been swirling around in their brain for days, weeks, months, or longer — is a time of worry and painstaking thought. You sit down, an anxious — excited — knot in your belly, a blank computer screen in front of you. Those first few lines you write have to suck the reader into the story and keep them turning page after page until they reach the end. And if they read your book in one sitting — because they couldn’t put it down—then you’ve worked a little bit of writerly magic.
In my opinion the best advice I received when I started writing my debut novel, Some Like it in Handcuffs, was to begin the story and each chapter with a hook — jump right into the action. Don’t begin with background or tell about the scenery or the character’s past. The reader isn’t invested enough in the characters to care — not yet. Begin with a bang and fill in the details as you go along.
Grab them with action! Snappy dialogue, a car chase, an accident, something threatening… the possibilities are endless.
The reader will learn everything to do with background as the story unfolds…as you spoon feed tidbits along the way through the character’s internal thoughts or revealing dialogue. This way the reader is learning about your characters and your characters are becoming their main focus, their friend, someone they will champion. Someone they care about. This, as a writer, is what you want.
So, the next time you pick up a book to read, pay attention if the book starts out with action and if it really draws you into the story. Or if you are a writer and you’re sitting down to start a new project…remember to begin with action to keep your readers attention.