Want to write a novel? Start with people in danger. This helps to ensure that you won’t break the “don’t be boring” rule. If you start with danger, you’re starting with conflict, and there’s a good chance that your reader will keep reading.
If you’re a new writer, you may be reluctant to dump trouble all over your story people. However, unless you get them into serious trouble, no one will be interested in reading about them.
What kind of danger? Think about this before you starting writing your book, and consider various forms of danger: physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual.
Here’s a couple of exercises to help you to start thinking “danger” when you write your novel.
Exercise 1: physical danger
Choose two characters. Give each character a profession, and a way of viewing the world. For example, you could choose a business woman, and a professional athlete.
Decide how each one views the world before you start writing. Perhaps the business woman had an argument with her partner before she left on her trip. The pro athlete may be injured: he fears that his career may be over.
Your two story people are on a SMALL plane; there’s a storm and heavy turbulence.
Write 500 words about these two characters, in a moment in time. Whether the plane crashes or not is up to you.
Exercise 2: Emotional danger – rejection
Your character is at the altar. As the moments pass, it becomes obvious that he/ she has been jilted. Write 300 words about what happens.
Hint: Involve the senses. What are the characters hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking?
Choose your own adventure: create your own writing exercises
Choose two characters, a location, and a dangerous situation. Create characters who are as different as possible from each other.
Write at least 200 words, more if you can. You can create these kinds of exercises at any time. They’re useful, especially if your writing is flat, or if you’re suffering from a writing block.
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