START YOUR NOVEL: A Fiction Notes book


My latest Fiction Notes book is now available!

Six Winning Steps Toward a Compelling Opening Line, Scene and Chapter

You want to write a novel, but you don’t know where to start. You have a great idea and—well, that’s all. This book explains the writing process of starting a novel in six winning steps.



  • Starting the Journey
  • Why Editors Focus on Page 1
  • STEP ONE: Clarify Your Idea
  • STEP TWO: Review Your Skills
  • STEP THREE: Plan the Opening Chapter
  • STEP FOUR: Plan the Opening Line
  • STEP FIVE: Now, Write!
  • STEP SIX: Revise

Writing teacher and author, Darcy Pattison, is the author of NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: Uncommon Ways to Revise, How to Write a Children’s Picture Book, and The Book Trailer Manual. She brings extensive experience in teaching writing to this exciting new book and helps you get started with the creative writing process.

Read a Sample Chapter

Jane Friedman posted Chapter 2 on June 10, 2013 and you can read on her blog. Or go here to download a sample chapter on your Kindle.

Confidence to Begin Your Novel

  • 29 Plot Templates
  • 2 Essential Writing Skills
  • 100 Examples of Opening Lines
  • 7 Weak Openings to Avoid
  • 4 Strong Openings to Use
  • 3 Assignments to Get Unstuck
  • 7 Problems to Resolve

The Math adds up to one thing: a publishable manuscript.


In 1999, Darcy Pattison started working with fiction authors on revising their novels. In order to come to a Novel Revision Retreat, participants need a complete draft of a novel and we spent an intensive weekend revising. The results? Many published novels, including Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, winner of the Newbery Honor award.
Now, I am turning to beginning writers and bringing order to the writing process. If you start well, you have a better chance of writing a publishable manuscript—and needing fewer revisions. Start Your Novel is a natural extension of my teaching of fiction and will get you past the terror of the blank page.

Now available:

Please do me a favor!
As you know, reviews are extremely important! Please, post your honest opinion about the book on Amazon, GoodReads, B&N or other online sites. It isn’t necessary to enjoy and profit from the writing help you’ll find in the book. But I would appreciate it. Thanks! Darcy

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  • Heather Wright
    June 24, 2013

    I just ordered your book for my Kobo. Looking forward to reading and learning!

  • Darcy Pattison
    June 24, 2013

    Oh, great! I’m glad its on KOBO for you!