First Pages

There are lots of options for starting a story or novel. One of the most common variations involve time. In both of my novels, I chose forms of nonlinear, or non-chronological, beginnings.

In Forty Seven Steps to Murder, the protagonist wakes up in an ICU. He’s been drugged, and he needs to force himself to remember what happened. This leads to a chronological memory stream up to the event that put him in the ICU. After that, it continues chronologically in real time. This allows for all of the explanation of the characters’ universe in a logical manner, along with a little backstory.

Black Hat or White Hat, the opening pages have the first event in the main plot device for the hitmen, and then it goes forward and backward. To keep events in chronological perspective, the first page is labeled Day One, and subsequent events are labeled with a plus or minus time in years, months and days. The first chapter introduces the heroes (anti-heroes) and explains a bit about them and their new endeavor.

Subsequent chapters are also nonlinear, so sometimes you know what happened to a victim before the victim knows.

More tips from the COVID bunker

Here’s a tip: If you publish a webpage that has a comments form, make sure you check your junk mail.

I also added a recent comment box on the first page.

Grammar and more!

I started using Grammarly a bit ago. I ran the drafts of my novels through it, and found hundreds of typos and better wording suggestions. I installed the paid version, which has more in the way of help than the free version.

In order to edit a whole novel online, you need to break it up into individual files that are small enough for Grammarly. It’s easy later to recombine the files.