How To Write a Novel — First Contact

Day 6 of writing my novel in public

Matt Lewis Allen


Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

I’ve started something scary here on Medium. It’s something I’ve done before, but never in public. I have a process that I’m going to follow, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you want to follow the journey from the start, go here.

If you missed yesterday’s, you can find it here.

Day 6 — First Contact

Over the last two days, I have met two important characters in my novel — the main character and the antagonist. I know the main character is an 11-year-old boy who is passionate about baking and can ‘see’ smells. He hides his ability because he doesn’t want to be different.

My antagonist loves eating foods that have an atrocious smell, and he stinks. To disguise this, he wears a hypnotic scent. He seeks revenge over those who made him feel bad for the way he smells and is building a stink bomb.

Today I’m going to plan a scene that involves the pair of them — their first contact. I’ll do some planning on what that scene might be like, what motivates the two of them in the scene, and the outcome.

I don’t imagine that this scene will be the opening scene in the book, but that is part of why I’m choosing to start here. When I start at the beginning, there is too much pressure to get the scene right. Not only does it have to do everything that every other scene in the book does, it also has to introduce characters, grip the reader and explain the context. It is one of the most important scenes to get right and that pressure makes it harder to write. It is like the start of a party when you enter a room full of strangers — getting the conversation going is hard.

So I’m going to start with a scene that must inevitably come somewhere — the main character and the antagonist meet — the first contact scene.

Guidebook first contact scene

I’ve been using two books I love as guidebooks in my writing process — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis and Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. Before launching into writing a scene of my own, I’m going to look at the first contact scenes in each of these.



Matt Lewis Allen

Writer and Book Coach — helping you write the book you would love to read —