1. Niralen
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    Niralen New Member

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    Beginnings, such an awful time.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Niralen, Mar 2, 2009.

    Hi there everyone, how you're all doing fine.

    I'm relatively new to the forums, I just joined and then school intervened with more assignments than I can count. Not to mention I'm also rather new at writing itself (having only written for about 1-2 years, most of which is fan fiction)

    Anyway, my question is: Does anybody else find it all but impossible to come up with a beginning to a new story? I'm trying to branch out into my own stuff but I'm having great difficulty coming up with the first few sentences. I'm just curious if anyway has any tips for me.

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  2. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Do you mean you have trouble thinking of a story, or you have the story in your mind but have trouble deciding how to write it down?
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I used to have the same problem. Heck - sometimes I still do. But I've learned that you really only need to have between 3 paragraphs (sometimes really short ones) and a page for your intro if it's a longer work, and a short story can start within two paragraphs. So looking at it that way, I've been able to get over some of my dread of starting a new story.

    *** Example ***
    The market was bustling today. Custom and increasingly prohibitive rental costs ensured that the outer stalls sold common but well-made goods, while farther in the merchants hawked mastercraft weapons and pottery from the Lone Island and spices from Hern and Thalos. In the very center of the market plaza were the rarest, most expensive goods -the god-touched magical devices sold by cloth-of-gold robed priestesses, the ripe fruits from Aresi's orchard laid out in piles that glowed with their own light.

    Chester, dressed in his least shabby tunic and a kilt that had been, in his opinion, far too ordinary a thing for its former owner, found himself pushed by the crowd into the centermost section of the market. He was so close to the priestesses' wares that he half fancied he could hear them singing to him - but the pile of sawaberries arranged neatly in front of him caught and held his eye. They were obviously ripe, the color of a maiden's blush, and thrice as wondrous.

    He heard a guard shout just as he'd pocketed his fourth berry. "Crap," he said, and made a dash for it.

    *** End example ***

    From here it wouldn't be too hard to describe Chester's escape route, his hideout, the guardsmen and how they behave and how they treat prisoners, the magic system and why sawaberries from the Golden Groves of Aresi are valued more highly than, say, a regular cherry might be.

    I just came up with that scene as a spur-of-the-moment thing, but you can probably see my point. No matter what you want to write about, as long as you start with something, you can use that to lead into the rest of your story.

    Good luck with your writing.
     
  4. december00
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    december00 Member

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    Well, not really because I don't worry about the beginning at the beginning. I start writing wherever I feel like starting at the time and keep going. I don't even write in order - sometimes an idea will spark for another part of the story and I'll write it out while it's in my head.

    The best part about writing is that it's like painting - you can't make any mistakes. Just get the story down and then you'll have a much easier time figuring out a captivating introduction to pull in your readers, or even more likely, you'll find you already have one - it just needs to be moved from the middle of the story to the beginning!
     
  5. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    The first thing I'd say is not to let yourself get overwhelmed by the supposed importance of the first few lines -they're not exactly the most integral part of a story (I certainly don't believe they are, anyway, and the following advice is based on the methods I use, which I hope you might be able to get something from).

    When you very first begin a story, I wouldn't worry about spending any time on crafting a first line. Instead, begin with whatever is clearest in your mind (whether is actually be the opening scene or not). Don't concentrate on how to set up the story or create a hook, or atmosphere or any of those things, just start the story with the first thing that needs to happen in it, and pay no attention to making it have more of an impact than it has in its simplest form. Generally, by doing that, I find the opening line becomes fairly pronounced (mine rarely change from first draft to final).

    If you're not entirely happy with the first line, you can always embellsh a little in subsequent drafts. If I can't clearly see where the first line is after the first draft, I only have one rule - find the part that anything and everything before it is irrelevant, and leave it at that.
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    As others have said, if the beginning isn't in mind yet, you can just start someplace else and get back to it later. I'm not somebody who can do that though, I have to write the entire story in order from beginning to end. If I have a story idea clearly enough in mind, beginnings don't trouble me.

    That might be another issue. I have to mull my stories over a while before committing them to writing. How well/thoroughly have you thought your story over before trying to write it? Maybe you need to think it over a bit more so the beginning becomes clearer. Of course it'll be difficult trying to pull something out of thin air.
     
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  7. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I'd agree that this helps too... while I haven't done it with much of my novel so far, I had played out the action of the first chapter quite a few times in my "mind's eye" before I began to write it.
     
  8. khat
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    khat New Member

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    I had the hardest time with this on the book I am currently writing! I really had the middle nailed down, but the character had a lot of baggage that I needed to explain in some way. Then I had this epiphany. I simply started the book in the middle and had the character flash back. Have you thought about doing something like that? Start the book with the scene that you are the most excited about and figure out another way to get the 'history' into the book.
     
  9. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Beginnings and endings are easy for me since they are like setting the parameters for the story. However, setting up the parameters are easy, but it is the middle that I find most difficult. It is in the middle that the majority of events occur.

    You don't have to follow the order of beginning, middle, and then end. Some times, it is best to start else where. Begin where most of your ideas are concentrated and then branch out from there.
     
  10. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    Hi, I would check out story starters (check out my link) to get one or two line sentences to help you out.

    Or, if you want to try on your own, pick some action, like a fight, an arguement, someone running, etc. Usually it's better to hook your readers and explain the context later on. Either way as long as you are writing you are doing well!
     
  11. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    My problem is usually the opposite -- too many ideas.
     
  12. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    The beginning of a book is easy for me; I just sort of sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It's actually one of my favorite parts of a new story, thinking of a flashy, eye catching beginning right off the bat. I think this was inspired by a thread on here about first sentences. I've been hooked on them ever since.

    Now, the end of a book...new thread.
     
  13. Niralen
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    Niralen New Member

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    Thank you all very much for all your help, I've always liked the idea of starting a story in the middle and working outwards, as it were.

    With any luck I might be able to summon the courage to put a bit of work up on here and "show the world"

    Thanks again for the help
     
  14. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    If you need ideas for stories, just look around you! Odd or interesting things in nature (or even regular everyday stuff), religious things, dreams, anything can be turned into a great story.
    Nate
     

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