1. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Need help starting!!!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Xeno, Jan 10, 2009.

    Okay, my biggest problem with writing is, and always has been, the first sentence. As soon as I start, I can write for hours, but I can never seem to get the first words down. Does anyone have any useful tips on how to deal with this?
    Has anyopne ever been in this situation and how did you get around it?
     
  2. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    Just spend some time thinking about the story as a whole and stop dwelling on the first sentence itself, maybe a scene will come to your head so that you can write down some notes or just run with the images.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Start with the scene that drove you to start writing the piece. Don;t try too hard to get a killer beginning now. Buffing up the beginni9ng will probably be one of your final steps anyway.
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hate to just jump on the bandwagon without something more to offer, but those comments above say it all. If you can't figure out the first sentence, then start with the second sentence. LOL
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Start with something generic. Go back and fix it later. Pretty much what everyone else said.

    Terry
     
  6. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or you could always start with "and so one day...." and go straight into something you've had planned. then, later, when you start revising, you'll look at it, and think "what was I thinking?" and come up with something clever to go in it's place. :D
     
  7. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    Another idea would be to think of a picture that would fit to open the story, then derive the mood that the picture shows - flippant, sad, glooming, happy, whatever. Then find a number of adjective that fits this mood, and build sentences with that word which lead into the the picture.
     
  8. Qujen
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    Qujen New Member

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    I always have the same problems as well, its true that a good starting sentence catches the readers attention. But firstly,Just write something that's normal for a starting sentence, then once you've finished your story, then you spend time on the starting sentence. Don't waste hours into thinking of one, just write a normal one and then go back after.
     
  9. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless the very first sentence is something that just comes to you one day and demands it be turned into a story, the opening is generally best written after everything else. After all, it's meant to be a set-up to the whole story - and how are you meant to do that properly when you're not sure what's coming?
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Contrary to NigeTheHat's comments, I myself need to write the beginning first (even without knowing how the rest of the story will go--how will I know what comes next unless I write what's happening now?), before continuing on to the rest.

    That being said, perhaps the OP is different. Maybe you need to start something out of order. I can't write things out of order, but some people need to. Perhaps start with the sentence or scene AFTER the first one. I don't recommend writing the ENTIRE story out of order since it can lead to serious continuity issues, but if the first part is giving you such trouble, skip it and move on.

    Or, echoing zorell, perhaps just mull the story over a while before starting it. I need to do that all the time; if I just start with something and run with it, I'll end up nowhere. Some thinking ahead could make the beginning clearer.
     
  11. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Throw yourself into the action. Ya know, in media res or whatever.
     
  12. Doodstormer
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    Doodstormer New Member

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    Well, if I find myself stuck for a sentence or something, I'll mark the spot and skip ahead to another chapter, or start writing further along. Usually whatever I needed earlier will come to me as I'm about halfway down.
     
  13. Jim Rowley
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    Jim Rowley New Member

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    i hate to say it but I'm a strong advocate of using an outline. maybe not even as a rule but at least use it a few times to get an idea of how to approach a story from the mechanical level of what happens. spend days and days writing biographies of your characters. snippets of things they would say. how they relate to other characters, what they love, what they hate. make them so they aren't alike, either. then, when you've been doing this for a while, and you have at least a spot on your outline that you know they might get to eventually, then start a scene where you know two of your characters would be arguing. even if its just as an excercise. and make yourself a rule: one of them has to have beaten the other in one way or another by the arguement, and it can be about anything. Then, when the first sentance is so alien to you that you're stepping into a world that is fully lived in within your own mind and research, it will inevitably be your best prose.

    many may disagree with me, and there are many ways to skin a cat, so do what makes you the most productive ultimately. anything that is keeping you from writing is in my experience usually an excuse, or else fear, and these can only be solved with research in some format, to my knowledge.
     
  14. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    A frequent misconception among many beginning writers is that stories are written from beginning to end, just as you read them in books. That is not the case. The author begins with creating a mountian of notes: character notes, settings, scenes, narratives, dialogues, everything he/she wants the story to say & do, in random order. Once the author has "gushed" out as much as he/she can, then the story is pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. The ending is written first & the story is written backwards to build up to that ending. So first write down everything about the characters & the story, in the order you come up with. Then first write how you want the story to end and work out how the story is to build up to that ending. Whenever you hit a spot where you don't know what to write, write around it. Its surroundings can help you figure out how to fill in the blanks later. It doesn't have to be perfect on the first try. When you finish you'll be re-writing it several times anyway before you even consider it for publication. The important thing is to get out everything first, then you can go back & re-arrange everything late.
     
  15. JoelMarriott
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    JoelMarriott New Member

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    You could try a style I am pretty fond of. Draw a crude drawing, of the opening scene of your piece - include little details in it such as what the weather is like - the ground at your feet and any buildings/landmarks that are around you.

    Use this to allow the reader to jump directly into the story e.g. "The wind rushed through my hair making the weather bitter and harsh. I..."

    I wouldn't just take my word for it though - I'm hardly an expert!
     
  16. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    A workshop I took many years ago saw us putting four or five (or more) sheets of paper in front of us and blagging away for an hour or so until we had several beginnings to the one story - one to each sheet. The whole point was to lessen the pressure to create; to just enjoy the creative freedom of the experience. Whatever way you decide to approach it, the main thing is to just get into it. Procrastination creates mental cobwebs!:)
     
  17. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Cheers everybody, you've given me some really good ideas. I may have the beginning of my novel posted here soon.
     
  18. Jim Rowley
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    Jim Rowley New Member

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    I definately agree. If you can sit down and write every scene of your story 6 - 12 different ways two things will happen: 1 you will always be writing. 2 you will be able to pick the best ways to express what needs to happen at that moment in your story to move it forward
     
  19. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I often will write the scene/story then go back and reevaluate whatever opening I wrote anyway. Sometimes you can write the intro better once you know where you are going.
     

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