Not long ago I had an opportunity to attend a creative writing seminar series on getting your novel started, and it happened to be led by Seattle author Robert Dugoni.
He is the best-selling author of 13 novels and legal thrillers including the Tracy Crosswhite series and David Sloane series (both set in Seattle).
Dugoni offered a number of suggestions to budding authors. First, start with the action. This is recommended by many authors of thrillers, suspense and mystery, and you’ll hear it at every writers’ conference you attend. You’ve got to hook your reader right away.
Another of Dugoni’s recommendations was to make sure you create a question in the reader’s mind with the first paragraph, and really with every paragraph. That’s how you create a page-turner. Keep the reader eager to find out what happens next.
When telling your story, Dugoni said it’s best to avoid the use of flashback. If you need to go back in time, you’ve got to put the reader right in that time. Flashbacks stop the story.
And, a famous quote from Dugoni:
“Whether you’re an unpublished novelist or a sixteen-time New York Times bestselling author, you can always improve your craft. You can always become a better writer.”