Tags:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. What Happens Next?
    Offline

    What Happens Next? New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    0

    In The Beginning...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by What Happens Next?, May 9, 2008.

    I don't know if it's just me, but I struggle to start a story. I love writing the middle and ending, but starting is another story (or novel, perhaps chronicle ). I usually try starting with a strange sentence, one that would catch attention, but it never seems right.

    Here are two examples I came up with while free writing...

    No one saw Desmond teleporting in the hall, for it was bustling with students and no one could get a good glance of what was going on.

    and...

    The figures danced from rooftop to rooftop, only leaving a trail of frost in the thick cold air.

    I don't know, maybe it's just me. But beginnings never seem right. Any help?
     
  2. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    This is a tough one, really. I usually find the beginning the easiest. Try and think of where the story starts, and what would make you (as a reader) want to read the story.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Keep in mind that the beginning the reader sees is probably not the first scene that popped into your head when you began the story. The first draft should concentrate on collecting related scenes on paper. Once you have most of that down, you can decide how you REALLY want the story to begin.

    If you obsees too much about the opening early in the first draft, you'll probably never complete your story.
     
  4. Gone Wishing
    Offline

    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Australia
    More often than not, I find the first sentence is actually after a couple of paragraphs of initially writing a scene. I tend to write in fragments; and by that I mean often I am inspired by a single scene (sometimes just a single word) and I will write about it. If I continue to be inspired by the work, I build around it - getting a framework and filling in the blanks as necessary. What to put first commonly comes last.

    As for beginnings, or first sentences, because I write short stories, I look through what I have written and try to find a line or paragraph that almost puts you at the heart of the story already - without giving too much away or dropping the reader too far into the story. As I said, I often find that much of what I have written as the beginning is superfluous, and try to zero in on the sentence or paragraph that conveys the most in regards to the story that follows.
     
  5. What Happens Next?
    Offline

    What Happens Next? New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see... I remember in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 that he did not start with the main character burning down a building, but rather a clinging emotional sentence that lead to him "Conducting the flames..." after a paragraph of sentences.
     
  6. Gone Wishing
    Offline

    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Australia
    Hmm, I guess I didn't explain what I meant clearly enough. Like I said, I write short stories, which don't benefit from as long a set-up as novels do, so there is a difference there.

    My suggestion is, rather than be hung up on coming up with that one perfect first line or paragraph, just think about what you would like the reader to know from the start. Don't think about where to start, exactly, or what to put first, in as much as the tone, scene and mood that you would like to set for the piece. Write it out, and then you can look at what jumps out at you, what speaks the loudest, and edit appropriately.

    Quite often, you will find - as published authors have noted - that the beginning comes after you initially thought it did. Some advice that I have heard before is that once you have written your book, omit the first chapter or swap the first and second around.

    I hope those suggestions are of some help.
     
  7. ChimmyBear
    Offline

    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    In the arms of the man I love at home in NC.
    When I write that first line I am attempting to place my character in his environment. It helps me in my discovery process. So many times I end up changing the opening by either cutting it out completely, or switching it up with other paragraphs or chapters...but, initially I have to just write it out and then go back and fine tune what is important for the reader to see and know.

    Relax and don't worry so much about writing it down perfectly...editing and revisions work wonders for this.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page