Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where to Begin

If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.

And don't forget, tomorrow is the last do to enter my Critiques for Christmas contest.

The beginnings of story... I always have such a hard time writing the beginning. Endings come easy. Wrap up loose ends, everything just falls into place, the words practically type themselves. But beginnings... beginnings are another story.

I struggle with beginnings. I write and rewrite them, add new scenes before them as a new beginning. How do you know where exactly your story starts?

That's a very good question and it's not an easy one to answer.

You need to start shortly before the MC's life is turned upside down. The inciting incident doesn't have to happen on the first page, but it probably should be within or at the end of the first chapter.

The inciting incident in Alexia's Pen is when she receives the pen at the end of the first chapter. Why not at the beginning? I needed to show Alexxia and introduce her and Artex. Plus I wanted to show a little bit of her normal life before everything becomes crazy.

As writers, we've been told over and over again that the first line has to be incredible, our first paragraph has to be griping. Likewise our first page, our first chapter. This is all true but the same can be said for the next chapter and the next, all the way until the end. So many times, agents have talked about polished first chapters but then the shine isn't there for the rest of the ms.

Beginnings are hugely important. So is knowing when to start the actually story. But the middle and the ending has to be just as strong.

Do you find the beginning of a story easier to write than the end?

13 comments:

Mara Nash said...

None of it is easy! But you're right, beginnings are hard. I've rewritten the beginning of my current romance a couple of times and now I need to do it again. I'll keep at it until I get it right!

Beth said...

For me it depends on the story. Sometimes I know where they end and that makes the ending easier, but sometimes I know where they begin and that makes the beginning easier.
beth-project52.blogspot.com

Meredith said...

Beginnings are so much easier for me to write! I tend to have an idea with a hook, so I jump right into the story and race along. Endings are much trickier to figure out.

LTM said...

it really depends on the story. I had a hard time ending the book I'm shopping now. And I'm really not completely happy w/how it ends... Usually the middle's hard for me! :D

Kate Larkindale said...

I tend to struggle with the middle more than the beginning or ending, although with my latest WIP I wrote 10K before realizing I'd started about 3 weeks too soon. I scrapped the stuff, and started somewhere else, an the rest of the book fell into place.

I'm still not happy with the middle tough....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually just start and then later come back to either adjust the beginning or spice it up. But it's a challenge sometimes to get the ball moving.

The Golden Eagle said...

I find them equally hard. It can be hard to figure out where to begin a story, and it can be hard to figure out the right way to end a story.

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Beginnings are both the hardest and the easiest to write. They're so difficult to do that I end up writing them several times, by which I know that part of the story inside and out :P Once the 'creative flow' has been achieved, things tend to be easier for me, but that initial stepping stone is always a killer

Carol Riggs said...

I find the beginnings take more work. But the ending has its own share of challenges, to make it fade on JUST the right note, with all the loose ends tucked in or tied up. ;o)

Colene Murphy said...

I love writing a good, exciting beginning. But that only works if there is something exciting already going on that needs no explanation. Regular, normal day beginnings are SO hard for me. I feel ya. If you find a trick to that be sure and post it!

Ann said...

I seem to start out with great momentum. I don't know about endings because I get stuck in the middle. HeyHo!

Talli Roland said...

I prefer the beginnings to the end! I always struggle with writing the ending.

Teresa aka JW said...

I think I like the endings better than the beginnings, but they come in second. :) Middles? Not so much.