Sitting in the hospital waiting for some tests to get done on my daughter, I was thinking about how a hospital can turn out like the beginning of a bad book. Waiting, it is always around the corner. To me the cornerstone of a good book pulls your right into the action whenever it begins. It pushes the limits and makes you want the main character to make it through the action so you can find out more about them. A hospital does just the opposite.
A hospital can sometimes make you go crazy. I was crazy once….. but anyway, the waiting can be intense. Doctors can either hold the key to your future or they may have the worst news you could ever hear. But the one thing that can be sure, good or bad, you are going to have to wait forever to hear it. A novel that is slow to start and keeps dragging on will have a hard time bringing any readers to the table. If you have no excitement, your book ends up as the sacrificial lamb that is under the coffee table. Don’t worry they won’t come back for seconds.
The story must move from the beginning. Pushing everyone and everything into conflict to get things going. Heck there are even times that you don’t have to understand what the conflict is, it just needs to be there and you need to feel it as the reader. If you are bored, the book will disappear. I know you might just have the best story int he world that needs six chapters of explaining to make it all come to life but if you write it in that fashion, I bet your reader doesn’t get past chapter three.
Conflict is what the reader lives for, present it early and present it often. Now if my damn doctor would give us results that didn’t take six hours to hear.
What things do you do to keep the action moving early in the story?