on Fiction University:
A strong beginning does more than simply start the story.
Writers spend a lot of energy on the “beginning” of their novel, but what they’re really focusing on is the opening. They agonize over the first line, the first page, the first scene, and the first chapter.
Which is all good, as every one of those is important, but they ignore the bigger picture—a strong beginning covers more than the opening line or the opening scene. It’s the entire setup for the novel, and getting the beginning right positions the novel to unfold the way they envision it.
Or as my girl Mary Poppins says, “Well begun is half done.”
I believe this wholeheartedly. Starting strong makes it a whole lot easier to finish strong. The whole beginning establishes what the middle will cover, and sets the expectations for the ending.