A fellow writer recommended that I read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. I was surprised at first since this is a book about screenwriting. Now that I’ve read it, I understand. Snyder’s book is full of tips on creating great stories. While some are specific to movies, most can be applied to books. For example, his first tip is in the title itself: Save the Cat. What does this mean to a novelist? It means that in your first chapter, your main character needs to do something to make readers like him. This may be something like stopping to save a cat while in pursuit of the bad guys. It may be showing that he loves his kids even if he seems like an angry jerk. Snyder’s point is that it only take a small reference to make readers care about your character and once they care, you’re golden.
If you haven’t read it already, I’d highly recommend the book.