Had a new writer ask about having issues with the start of their book and infodumps. Now, I’m not a huge fan of writing / offering craft advice, because I still feel very much like a beginner. However, this was something I thought I could contribute to, so rather than a business post, we’re getting a craft post. we go:

Here’s a few ways to overcome a slow beginning or doing too much exposition/infodumps as a new writer:

  • ignore the problem. Just write and keep writing for a bit, hit 3-5 chapters or around 10k words. Then look back and see if you have a place where the actually ‘story’ starts. Cut out everything before that.

Most experienced authors can also do that for you, scan through, find the start of your story and tell you what to cut.

  • Ignore the background. Pick the moment just before everything changes for your character. You CAN start in-media res (i.e. in the moment); but it’s often better to take a moment to describe the world and character and give us a reason to care before.
  • Outline. Write the outline of your book (don’t feel you HAVE to use it, but structuring the outline will help structure your ideas) with each portion of it. Then, break the outline into the first third and go into further depth, for each chapter.

What happens. Who’s involved. What are the consequences.

Then, do the outline for the first 3 chapter on a scene basis, just actions and consequences and individuals and how it flows. Bullet points only.

Then, go deeper with the first chapter. Work on paragraph level of actions. It’ll help trim out background info, because for outlines you don’t need it.

  • Lastly, ignore all this. Write the book. Don’t worry till you’re done and then go back and edit, to remove and restructure.

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