“Instead of starting where everything begins, why not try starting where everything gets interesting? Origins are overrated.” (link)
This got me thinking about some advice that Bree Despain, YA author of the DARK DIVINE trilogy, told me once when I talked to her in a conference call. Basically her words ran along the same lines as Kiersten’s. Bree said to start the story on a day in your MC’s (main character) life when something changes. Something fundamental that will set up the story to follow. In Bree’s first novel, that “day” for her MC (Grace) is the day that Daniel returns after his mysterious disappearance three years earlier. And that “day” is where Bree begins Grace’s story.
It is easy to get bogged down in backstory and flashbacks and info dumps. It is easy to fall into the trap of telling everything about your MC’s life.
Don’t. Do. This.
You may think you are fleshing out your MC’s personality, letting your reader really “get to know” your MC. But really, all the backstory is only for your own benefit as the writer. Info dumps WILL bore your readers, and your readers WILL lose interest in your novel.
Don’t focus on the ordinary. Focus on the extraordinary. What is it that really kicks off your novel? When do things get “interesting”?
Then run with it.