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Author In Progress by Writer Unboxed Writer Unboxed, Therese Walsh

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Community Conversation: Story First, Plot Second

Develop Your Protagonist’s Story-Specific Past

Lisa Cron

As you start the intoxicating, challenging, rewarding, and, yes, sometimes maddeningly frustrating process of writing a novel, chances are you’re wondering, Where does my novel begin? Could there be a more logical, obvious, and necessary question?

Actually, yes, there could. Especially since, as it turns out, that’s the exact wrong question to ask at the beginning of the writing process. Why? Because it refers to what happens on the first page in the novel, which is when the plot kicks in. And what you’re really writing about—what will capture your readers, make them care, and incite the sense of urgency that won’t let them put down your ...

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