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.

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2 responses to “Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

  1. That’s interesting, Kris, do you ‘see’ all the scenes in your head from beginning to end before you start writing them down or do some extra ones come as you are writing?

    Beginnings seem to be even more important now with e-books because it tends to be only beginnings we can sample. I know if I have a paper book in my hand, in the library or bookshop, I read a couple of places in the middle as well as the beginning, that way I have a good idea of the tone of the book and if it suits me. I wish I could do that with e-books as well.

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  2. I usually only see key scenes in my head and as I write, the scene is filled out and other things are added. I “see” things from all points in the story as the whole plot is coalescing in my brain. Sometimes when I’m writing, this pop up unexpectedly and that’s always fun.

    You make an excellent point about the beginning being even more important with ebooks. I never quite thought about it like that, but it makes a lot of sense!

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