1. KayP
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    KayP New Member

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    How to start when you're stuck?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by KayP, Mar 16, 2010.

    Well I have several stories (a novella, and a series) that I've outlined and plotted out, with character descriptions and all. I've been able to write out some of the major sequences, however I'm having trouble writing out the beginning. I know what I want to happen, but I'm so stuck as to how to go about it. Any advice as to how to getting the ball rolling out of the literary mud?
     
  2. MCWhite
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    MCWhite Contributing Member

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    My only suggestion is, when you get bogged down, not to write but read. Take a break from your writing to read someone else's, not only for inspiration but as an example too, of what can/should be done. Read some short stories, some novels, and don't even think about your writing. Get away from your work for a while. You're not going to be able to force the process along, so go out and experience life and come back fresh when you've got an idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to take a break from a work in progress, but its most often beneficial.
     
  3. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    From everything I have read, the beginning seems to be the hardest for some people. I have read many suggestions - one is to read, another is to just start anywhere and come back to it later if you don't like it later, another is to skip the beginning, and start a chapter or two in, and fix it later when you have a better understanding of what it might require.

    Personally, I just start where the action is. If there is a scene that the reader has to see before they can understand your book, that is a good beginning. For me.

    Have fun with it. Good luck! :)
     
  4. Matthew Bionic
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    Matthew Bionic Member

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    I know this feeling well, Kay.

    Taking a walk works for me. Walking with notebook and pen in hand.
     
  5. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Don’t write it, carry on with what you can write and leave the beginning, it sounds strange I know but not every novel is written in order and you may find the beginning comes to you as you continue
     
  6. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    You could go at it like they do in the movies.

    Hollywood reuses everything, from ideas to sets, and they have a strict schedule of when actors need to be on what set. And they try to make it all as quick and economical as possible. (Despite how much the average person thinks they could do with a million dollar budget it will only go so far in Hollywood.) They don't necessarily shoot from the title to the credits but instead jump between the various frames of their outline or their storyboards shooting them individually and completely out of the final order as it appears on the screen.

    Not that I'm recommending exactly the same scenario but perhaps you need to write the scenes you are confident of with the characters you already know. That way you'll get a more accurate picture of who your characters need to be and you'll be able to bring unfamiliar characters into familiar settings. You'll be able to build up they story from known points and work your way from there to the beginning.

    Of course, Hollywood also hires people to watch specifically for the continuity errors that will inevitably crop up and your best bet for that is to read the story through once you've completely your initial draft. Not even Hollywood is crazy enough to try and fix the continuity without having first editted their movies into the close to final film.

    I hope I've made some sense here... :p
     
  7. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Unlike most, the beginning is the easiest part for me. Not sure why but I'm not about to complain about it either...

    I guess I think of the beginning as the push of the boat out in to the water. It sets the story to sail.

    First thing I do is have an opening line. In most cases, I kind of already have it in mind from somewhere or somehow. I look at it as something of a question to be answered. Nothing too obtuse, just a simple little statement that is food for thought that would make the reader want to know why you would say that.

    An example of a line that is set aside for a story I've yet started is: "Sometimes your footnote in history is not what you had hoped it would be."

    In my mind, I sort of think I'd want to know why someone would say that. From that I may thought to follow with:
    "You grow up considering the grand scheme of your life. The plans of greatness. It could be fame and fortune. Perhaps the your name is on the that cure for cancer. Whatever the grand scheme is, it's not where you are now."

    Form this point I find that I would drop in to the actual situation that is the story.

    My thought is that since life is 'ongoing'/in progress deal, meaning that the beginning of the story will be inserting itself in to a person's life in progress, that following the intro line and transition to the story movement that the next part moves in to a key activity to the story. Although I haven't written it yet, I may follow with:
    "Here I sit at my 12th floor desk overlooking a strip mall and a hotel. I have work to do but it's just another moving cog in the big, corporate wheel. I wasn't going to cure cancer because I'd never made it through med school. It would have been nice to have become a bit more successful by the time I got to forty but I took the safe route"

    ...and on to a story of breaking free etc.

    Anyway, just any example if how my mind structures an intro. I guess my thought is that there should be an question needing to be answered an a transition to slide in to the reason and flow of the story.

    Granted my example got cliche but it still makes the idea.

    Granted, this is my way of thinking of it but i guess when I open a book, I want the writer to tell why I should continue further. Give me a hook. It's like a good opening guitar riff in a rock song, it'll grab your attention. After that, don't spend too much time pondering things but get in to the story. Drop in to the life(s) in progress.

    My two cents on how my meager writing has so far developed.
     
  8. Silverfire
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    Silverfire New Member

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    I too think that when you are stuck, you should do something else. Really, writer's block is probably God saying, "Time to take a break." You've worked hard and for whatever reason your mind is overloaded, so take a break and empty it out. Then when you come back to it, you can do what you need to do. You'll be surprised just when the answer bubbles to the surface!
     
  9. KayP
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    KayP New Member

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    thanks

    Thank you all so much! This is all a really big help, especially those of you who suggested with just writing what I have, and get to the beginning in the end. Again thank you!
     

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