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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Seventeen

The Main Introduction

Revealing Your Character’s Key Elements from the Start

Jordan Rosenfeld

The first third of your narrative is all about establishing the nuts and bolts of characters and their basic conflicts and plot problems, and setting into motion all the seeds for conflict and challenges to come. In these opening scenes, readers are meeting your characters—and, most important of all, your protagonist(s)—just as if they were new guests over for dinner. Their words, actions, and reactions to one another all serve as primary introductions, and these first impressions set the stage for their behavior deeper into the book.

While you probably know that you need to craft opening scenes that reveal who your character is (a ...

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