Many fiction writers will strive to make a huge impact with their first chapter or a prologue. They will often describe the scene but leave the reader guessing as to what it is about and who is involved. This is often fine for the Readers because they expect that this scene will be brought up again later in the novel when pieces of the puzzle start coming together. But not every author wants to do this. They preferred to leave the suspense for later in the novel, resulting in quite a different opening.

There are essentially no rules when it comes to how you should start your crime novel.

Some people dive right into the crime while other people open the novel before the crime happens. But one thing is for certain: you need readers to be really intrigued by the story you're going to tell. While the saying may be, "people shouldn't judge a book by its cover," many readers will judge a book by the first couple chapters, and if they're not drawn in, they will immediately put it down and start reading something else.

Avoid the slow opening

It may make sense to you to start the novel prior to something happening, and start building the characters that you've chosen for your readers. But the reality is that readers are bored reading about a character, who does nothing more than pour himself a cup of coffee and reflects over the news of the day.

You can't simply write a novel and just document daily things. You have to insert some kind of drama or mystery to keep the readers curious. You have to remember that you're writing a crime novel and there are expectations for this kind of book.

Ask yourself if your opening chapter is set before the enticing thing, such as the crime itself.

You also want to look at how you introduce the crime or the focus itself, specifically if you do it right away or if it takes you a few pages or even chapters. Readers don't want to read fluff before the real story surfaces and read through an overly slow opening that can severely kill your story.

Editors and publishers are turned off.

You may be under the belief that publishers will read your entire book before writing a rejection letter. But if they're not intrigued with the story's introduction, they may not see it as a mass-market book. In other words, an overly slow opening can also kill your chances of becoming a published author. You want to start right away with an intriguing storyline that makes them guessing what's up next. This should happen even if the crime doesn't happen until the fourth chapter. Something has to happen to keep readers curious, and editors will point this out to you if you have an overly slow opening.

Are you guilty of writing slow openings? How do you fix this problem?

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