Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…

It was a dark and stormy night…

Marley was dead: to begin with…

In all my web perusing, I’ve read how other authors write.  One thing I’ve learned, without a doubt, is that everyone’s process is a little bit different.  Some need music, some complete silence.  Some write an outline they stick to religiously, some fly by the seat of their pants.  Some can jump around, writing scenes out of sequence…I, most certainly, cannot.

I have to start at the beginning.  Word one.  While I do “see” scenes out of order, I can’t write them that way.  For me, the only way I can make a coherent story is to start with the first word and write each consecutive word until I get to the last.  That’s not to say things don’t get switched around, added or deleted, and rewritten out of order when I edit.  But for the first draft?  That initial putting the story on the page?  For me, it all starts at the beginning.  

As a reader, the beginning is often what makes or breaks a book for me, too.  That beginning has to grab me, make me want to find out more about these characters I’ve been introduced to, or I find the whole thing lacking.  I think that is, actually, a fairly universal truth.  And perhaps that’s why I need to write that way as well.  If I can’t get the beginning to to grab my attention when the characters live in my head, how can I expect a reader to want to follow their journey?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking anyone else’s method.  If you can write scenes out of order, more power to you.  I just don’t operate that way.  For me, the beginning is where it all starts.   As soon as I can figure out that, I can write a story.