Use those few minutes before a meeting starts, standing in line at the supermarket, and waiting in the doctor’s office. Instead of watching TV or checking social media, write. All those micro writing sessions add up to pages, which add up to chapters.
There are many overused story openings that you should avoid at all costs. Several literary agents, acquisition editors, and publishers have written about this, but here is a short list of the most annoying and disliked ways to start a story.
Do not open your story with:
an alarm clock buzzing;
a character jumping out of bed, running late;
the first day of anything new (e.g., school, job);
Chris Kyle gives a well-written, detailed account of US military life during the Iraq War. If you’re seeking to understand the mindset of Iraq War veterans, American Sniper might be a good place to start.
Using words in your historical fiction that weren’t used during the book’s time period detracts from the book. You might have a good plot and writing style, but your readers are expecting a well-researched narrative.
One of my favorite tasks when editing historical fiction is checking the etymology of words. Picking out the time traveling words takes instinct and curiosity. I once researched “cute” out of editorial instinct and learned that it is short for “acute” and was originally synonymous with intelligent rather than adorable. Considering the time period of the novel I was editing, “cute” didn’t make the cut.