In the vast and various realm of ‘how-to-write guides’ there is no law, canon, edict, ukase, tenet or rule that declares that the writer must begin at the beginning of the novel he wants to write. The only fully functional rule that exists is one that states, any handicap or barrier that prevents you from beginning your novel must be overcome.
Yes, the writer needs a strong, interesting, believable, dramatic and reader-hooking opening chapter. It is essential. But what if he hasn’t found it yet? Is the remainder of the novel to stand poised in some musty, suffocating corridor, waiting to be launched into existence? You must not be stopped. Procrastination is the thief of time.
… The traditional guides in the “how-to-write” realm are valueless if they stop you from writing. Begin anywhere in the novel and, in time, as you write, you will acquire the perfect first chapter.
Bishop, Leonard. Dare to Be a Great Writer, 329 keys to powerful fiction. 1988. Writer’s Digest Books. Cincinnati, Ohio.
[photo, ©The Estate of Leonard Bishop]