The Toughest Obstacle Authors Face

Writer's Resource Blog

The toughest obstacle authors face is their opening pages. In fiction and nonfiction drafts, there’s often a lot of throat-clearing in the opening sections.
In fiction, authors think readers need to know the main character in detail, so they dump a lot of that person’s history into the opening sections. In nonfiction, writers introduce the history of some event or person before getting on with the show. Both equal dull, slow pacing almost every time.
The trick is to weave that historic material into the opening section. The main focus should be on something that is important to the character, or in nonfiction, a specific part of the overall topic. As opportunities arise, slip in a few sentences or even a few paragraphs with relevant bits of backstory.
Special note in fiction: Avoid flashbacks! Use them only infrequently, and make sure to use them for all the right reasons. Too…

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