First Thoughts

“Our first thoughts on starting a story are always wrong.”
Richard Peck

“The work itself will teach you” — this old Estonian proverb says it all about improving our craft: We learn to write by writing. Still, along with playing with the page on our own, advice from a seasoned scrivener often proves fruitful. I just had the good fortune to hear Richard Peck, an award-winning author of more than 40 novels, share some of his experience. A few nuggets of gold from his rich mine:

On story:

“If there is no movement, there is no story….”The story is a train now leaving the station and the reader is jumping on board. It moves like an express train. Don’t give your readers time to think.”

“In the middle, there must be an epiphany — a moment of sudden awareness. A story is an ephiphany acted upon.”

“Real life doesn’t work in a book. A book has to have more hope.”

“Finding the voice that tells the story is more important than the story: it’s the singer, not the song.”


“You’re only as good as your opening line….We must capture readers in the first line in a voice that isn’t ours.”

“The first page is the whole novel: It’s the Table of Contents, the preview of coming events.”

“I regularly find my first line on page six….I found the opening the opening of my new book on page 125 of my fifth revision.”

“The first chapter is the last chapter in disguise — all the clues are found in the beginning.”


“Where did we get the idea that it had to be right the first time?”

“Try everything another way. Try it 20 ways. It’s worth doing and on the
19th, you’ll have an epiphany.”

Wonderful advice from an accomplished author — I hope it sparks your own creativity! Write on.

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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1 Response to First Thoughts

  1. anne says:

    Happy dad’s day

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