Tag Archives: novels

Novelist David Hewson: How to start writing a book

The opening should conclude with “a surprise” or “revelation that something we’ve come to suspect is actually true.” The surprise or revelation “will pose a problem which the characters I’ve introduced will have to tackle.”

Hewson describes how the opening of “Treasure Island” follows that formula.

“The setup is the fuse for the book to come,” Hewson says.

How to start writing a book – David Hewson

Today’s creative writing: Revised beginning of “The Reluctant Magician.” Total 5,130 words

I have changed my vision for both the main female character and the villain, and I wanted to go back and make what I’ve written so far fit that vision.

The alternative is writing notes to myself and going back to the beginning and revising when I get to the second draft. I’ve done that before on previous novels. It’s a slog. This way seems more fresh and lively.

What I’m doing is dangerous. I could end up revising and revising and never adding new material. But I’m making up my writing technique as I go (as well as making up the writing itself, of course).

Someone on Twitter asked me today about my creative writing technique, whether I write major scenes first or write in order. I said this time around I did a 3,000-word outline and from that I’m writing scenes in order.

On previous novels I wrote without an outline. I just wrote scenes in order. But that was like pulling teeth.

I’m trying to get to the point where creative writing is just something I do every day, with no drama. Like BRUSHING teeth, rather than pulling them.