A former student and Facebook friend asked me how to begin a novel. Some novelists, put their pens to paper and write stream-of-consciousness style (as thoughts come to them). Others write detailed outlines and/or plot steps.
I use a logline and rough outline.
Consider beginning with a logline:
Logline: In a (SETTING) a (PROTAGONIST) has a (PROBLEM) (caused by an ANTAGONIST) and (faces CONFLICT) as he/she tries to (achieve a GOAL).
My logline for No Parents Allowed:
A confrontation with her mother in the guidance counselor’s office forces a high school sophomore to join a virtual reality chat room, or be forced to attend therapy sessions.
My logline for Blame:
To save his parents’ marriage, the co-captain of a high school soccer team must come between his father and his father’s irrational mistress, his co-captain’s mother.
A logline for THE WIZARD OF OZ might read: After a twister transports a lonely Kansas farm girl to a magical land, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find a wizard with the power to send her home.
If you plan to write a novel, consider using this simple outline as its backbone.
MY SUGGESTED ROUGH OUTLINE:
Complications and choices:
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