A Penable course: Writing a book #1 – TAMING THE START

So as I mentioned in the last post,

https://penableme.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/keeping-you-occupied-with-penable-during-the-covid-19/

I am going to be starting a writing course to keep you occupied during the COVID 19 which takes you on the journey to starting to finishing your book. I will be going through the course with you guys, along with a fictional book I’m currently working on which I will explain more about later in the post. You will hear about it a lot and I will show you how I made plans for it and examples from it for this course.

This is the first post of the course so I welcome you to…

TAMING THE START

Hi! I hope you are all healthy and doing well, to start this course, can you please grab a pen, paper/ notebook to jot down your ideas and sit comfortably.

First off, do you have an idea?

Any ideas on what you want to write a book about? You might base it on real life experiences or it might fantasy. You could make it a horror story or a tale of adventure, mystery, thriller or even romance!

On your paper I would like you to write down what genres you want to include, you can add as many as you wish.

I am writing a fictional book currently. Here are some of the genres it includes:

Mystery, Adventure, Family.

Please share what genres your book will have down below! You then need to pick an age group and audience. Who is the book mostly aimed at? For example, Rapunzel : 5+, for girls. This is a very important thing you need to think about, the foundation of your book.

Then is your story in first person, second person or third person? This is pretty important too.

Okay, now if you already have a plan for your book then you may skip this part until you see writing in bold. If you don’t have a plan then read on!

So on your paper, just jot down some ideas for your story and please include these points:

  1. Main character, friend, family, pets (decide some unique names)
  2. Where they live (settings, there can be as many settings as you wish, be creative!)
  3. What is the genre, we talked about this earlier
  4. What is the story about? Make it interesting for your reader!

Now plan out the chapters:

Just summarise roughly what happens in each chapter, here is the one for my book which I am using for an example:

Chapter one: Two sisters, Katerina and Nicola who work in TreeFord Manor. Katerina is a thirteen year old maid and her nine year old sister, Nicola is a playmate for Lady Marion’s daughter, Octavia. Octavia is very ill when the story starts and dies from pneumonia at the end of the chapter leaving Nicola and Lady Marion heartbroken.

Chapter two: While Katerina comforts her extremely upset little sister, Lady Marion enters the room they sleep in and tell them they are not to tell anyone about her daughter’s death and they are not allowed to attend the funeral. This makes Nicola angry. Several days later, Katerina wakes up to find her sister has disappeared. Nicola appeares an hour later, happier. She tells her older sister that Lady Marion wants to adopt her and call her Octavia. Katerina is still to remain a maid and does not agree with her sister pretending to be Octavia.

Chapter three: Katerina explains that only Nicola was supposed to come to Lady Marion but she begged to come along too, to protect her sister. Katerina has a big argument with Nicola, telling her that she is being very selfish, leaving Katerina as a maid while she lives in luxury. Nicola says that she doesn’t need her sister anymore and Katerina runs away.

Chapter four: Katerina wanders about in the market and finds a young girl, called Lucy who is hurt. She helps Lucy get home to her father who invites Katerina to stay. Katerina discovers that Lucy is the daughter of the cook of TreeFord Manor who has died recently and Lucy’s scary father accuses Lady Marion for murdering his wife. As a guest in their house, Katerina discovers dark and disturbing secrets that may change her life forever.

That’s all I am going to reveal about my book for the time being, but I can assure you that it is super interesting and packed with creepy twists….

Give yourself a small space on your timetable for working on your book. It is important to write regularly.

Now that you’ve made your plan, it’s time to move on! I think the parts that everyone gets stuck on is the start. How do you make it interesting? How do you make the reader stay loyal to the end?

Well let’s think about this. A lot of books start with the character coming out of school or waking up. To make it more intriguing for your reader, why not start the story in a different setting? Like a dungeon. The reader would want to know why the character is in a dungeon. Or you could start off the story with a death. Kill someone closest to your main character. Or better, put your main character on the brink of death. Hear are some death starters for your story:

And that’s when I saw her. Hair fanned out on a blood smeared pillow, blue eyes speckled with pain, her body eerily still. I sunk down beside her bed and put my head in my arms. Then I cried.

Or….

“I can’t swim!” I screamed, my head bobbing up and down in the ocean. “Someone please help me!” A huge wave snaked its way to me, knocking my head back into the water. I fell back, thudding against the sandy sea floor, waves kept coming, keeping me inside the ocean. I felt my face reddening. Then I opened my mouth in a silent yell.

Or….

I’m dying. It feels like it. She pushed the dagger into me again and I spluttered out blood. “Tell me where the gold is hidden” she snarled. I smiled despite the pain and panted for breath. “Try and find it yourself” I breathed out. “On your way to hell” She scowled and held the dagger up high and aimed at my heart. “Your last chance” she warned me and I shook my head. “Never” and I spat on her face. Then she brought the dagger down.

If you don’t want to start your story with a death, it’s your choice. And here is a link to more awesome and thrilling story starters:

https://www.literacyshed.com/story-starters.html#

Shall I tell you what would be really cool? If you take a classic story and swap the good and bad characters. So the villains will actually be good and the main character would be bad. Or you could tell the tale of how that character from a fairy tale became bad. Or you could do a whole story from a villains perspective. It’s entirely up to you!

Homework: Yep, I’ve got some homework for you! In the comments section below, I want to hear about your ideas, thoughts and story starters and I will give you honest feedback! Send it in people!

This is the end of TAMING THE START, I hope you learnt a lot and this post helped you with the start of your story and please, please don’t hesitate to ask me questions as I loooove to receive them. And I’ll see you tomorrow for the next post on your journey to writing a book: CREATING LOVABLE CHARACTERS!

P. S. Wash your hands and do your homework!!!!!!!

Published by H.R Phoenix, Author

H.R Phoenix is the owner and creator of Penable. She likes to inspire people to write and is an Author of a poetry book and the Penable magazine 2020. When she's not working on a short story or writing awesome Penable Posts, she enjoys spending time with her two cute kittens..

40 thoughts on “A Penable course: Writing a book #1 – TAMING THE START

  1. The genre of the book I’m working on are fantasy, thriller, and supernatural(is that a genre?) and I really really liked the advice on making a rough sketch of all the chapters. That’s where I’ve been struggling the most. It’s hard to glue everything together.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think a story starter should really introduce the characters and the setting should be clearly established in order to capture the reader. The reader would know the basic description of the book after picking it up so knowing where the story stars can really help mark the connection. So I think it should be a clear start with all the details down. Rather than a narrated prologue which usually sets the readers off as they would be clueless and find it slightly boring. But of course if it’s a good prologue then it wouldn’t be an issue, but writing a good prologue is really hard. So avoiding it is best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hmm story starters…how about one that starts with a shift of seasons or something? Or or a narrative where a character is narrating the prologue content like a legend or a curse maybe…and then things go downhill

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yeah, I should’ve added a few more calmer story starters, those were for like murder mysteries and those things. I agree. I also look forward to reading your story ideas and starters!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My book is as I said fantasy and supernatural, it has magical creatures living in the normal human world…but in my story the magical ones are more in number than the humans or the non magic ones…it’s been so long that there’s rarely a purebreed of any kind…all kinds of creatures have blended in and evolved that now there are creatures you can’t even identify…maybe it’s a mix breed of a vampire or a fae or perhaps something you can’t even tell…and in this haywire of a world…the rarest of creatures are the sirens…and especially one siren amongst all…it’s a long story…but yeah this is the basic setting and there’s a complex plot with a lil bit of melodrama because who doesn’t include melodrama…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi H.R.
    Thank you for such a wonderful journey you have engendered me to. I love, absolutely love your advice and site. I shall spend a great deal of time here with you. Fabulous writing exercises. I am aspiring to complete my AA in Creative Writing and English. I hope to complete I have my third manuscript briefed by a reputable source. Do you do this? I hope so. Please, if you will, do let me know. Blessings of pure goodness upon you and Stay Creative! Respectfully, John Gregory Evans.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello John, you can call me Phoenix 💖,
    Thank you for your kind comment, and best of luck to complete your journey.
    I am very pleased by your comment, but could you please expand on what you mean by your request, I don’t fully understand…

    Thank you once more, to you too!,
    Phoenix 💖 💖 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Phoenix. Thank you kindly. I was only wondering if you assist writers by editing their manuscripts?

    I am on your site and just love what I am learning. You are very, very wise in the literary world.

    Hoping to hear back from you.

    Respectfully,
    John Gregory Evans

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi John,
    I was actually thinking about doing that and have decided that near to the end of this month, I will do that service – which will come with a fee. If you are still interested, then I will let you know when I am doing it.

    Thank you very much, I don’t think that I am that wise, I’m still learning but thank you anyway 🙏❤️❤️❤️

    Kind regards,
    Phoenix ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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