1. ELECTRIKPASSION
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    ELECTRIKPASSION New Member

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    Starting a story/novel

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ELECTRIKPASSION, Sep 5, 2011.

    I have a chronic problem of not being able to start a piece. This particular time it's a story I've had in my head for weeks now, and I don't know how to start it... It is a fantasy story, but it has a much darker twist (at least in my head) to today's angst filled teen stories. The main character and her twin brother play important keys to the family's ancient legend (blah blah blah) Any tips on how to start this off? I considered using a dream, because I wanted the beginning of their struggle to be on their 16th birthday but that's kind of overused these days.
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Open up that word document and type the first word. The rest will come naturally ;D
    Don't think too hard about how to start it, you'll probably end up changing it anyway.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't like the dream idea, personally. Where does everything change for these characters? What is the point beyond which there is no going back to their previous lives?
     
  4. ELECTRIKPASSION
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    ELECTRIKPASSION New Member

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    @Youniquee: Tried that, but like you said I keep changing it and I can't keep a solid idea without making a million changes.

    @Steerpike: I don't either. The point at which there will be no return will be on their birthday at the time of their birth, which I was hoping to introduce within the first chapter.
     
  5. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    You don't have to start at the beginning. In fact, many novice writers cripple themselves trying to think up the perfect place to start, not realizing your beginning will probably end up changing the most in revision and changed the most times.

    Start with a scene that is most clear in your mind and work from there. Whether it's the opening scene or last, it doesn't matter. Start with the scene that seems important enough in your head that you've thought about it enough.

    And if you haven't gotten to the point where you're thinking about scenes, and just have a ton of plot points and ideas, perhaps you're not ready to write. I find most writers have a ton of trouble starting when things are just a bunch of ideas. Typing isn't isn't always the best place to flesh out ideas, but many writers try because they hear over and over to just start typing and let it flow.

    That's crap.

    Don't just start typing, hoping it will come to you. Don't start typing until you can't stop yourself. And just because you aren't typing, doesn't mean you aren't writing.
     
  6. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    I have the same problem with my story. What I did was simply write the scenes that were most clear in my head. Now I'm starting to get an idea of how I want to write the beginning. Never force it because you will inevitably change it. Just try and figure out what you're character's conflict is and what their life is like before the conflict starts. Find out who they are and what they're doing before the story takes off so you have a clear image of what your main character will be doing at the beginning of the story.
     
  7. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    Don't worry about it being overused. If your story makes sense to start on the MC's 16th birthday, then do so. Try setting the scene up (in your head or in an outline or some such) and figure out a good spot in that scene to begin the actual story. Get right to a compelling intro that makes the reader want to turn the page and learn more about these characters and their tale.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If it is a short story, my initial thought it to start on their birthday at the time of their birthday. Go right into the story from there. If you are writing a novel, then you can afford more time to build up to it. But only you know exactly what you have in mind, so you'll have to determine the most effective starting point. For short stories, I like to get right into whatever turning point leads the MC inevitably along the path of the story.
     
  9. Summer
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    Like others have said the "beginning" from your first draft may not actually be the beginning of your story, or your novel. Don't stress yourself out over getting the beginning just right at this point. You haven't even written anything yet!

    If I were you I would just start at the birthday and go from there because you already know that it is a kind of beginning to the story. You can always add more.
     
  10. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes like others have mentioned, at least have a general outline of where you'd like your story to go. And start at the point where something changes. Something siginificant should happen in your first scene, minor or major, but whatever it is there should be tension. It's not a hard and fast rule, but it's the easiest way to engage the reader.
     
  11. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Sometimes I have to brainstorm on what kind of openings I need for a story. It gets hard knowing what the write these days. You need not to fear on opening up with a dream sequence, especially if you do not know what to write. It cannot be any worse than not starting with nothing at all. What worked for me is to write the opening scene with anything I can think of. For instance, the dream sequence of the main characters struggles, as you were thinking about. Once you are doing with the first draft, you will know what to write in the second draft. You will get the feel of where your story is going once you are done with the first words on draft. The second draft will be a bit easier when you already know what the first draft is all about. After all, you ought to know that your first draft is going to be garbage anyway, so why not you start with something you are uncomfortable writing?
     
  12. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Dreams are a bad ways to start a book because the readers' interest should lie in what is actually happening in the story. If you draw your reader in with a dream (or not the real story) what's going to hold your reader when the dream is gone. It's like opening under a false pretense.

    About starting a story - You have to remember there are two different starts to a book. The one you write when you first begin writing the story and the start that will actually get printed in the book. They are rarely the same thing. Most of us spend too much time trying to perfect a beginning that will never be used. It's a waste of time.

    The beginning is so important that the need to get it right is paramont. It is something to be done after you know where the story is going and how it gets there. Most of the time the beginning should be written LAST (or maybe I should say REwritten).

    There's only one rule to starting a book, WRITE.
     
  13. ELECTRIKPASSION
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    ELECTRIKPASSION New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I guess I was really worrying over it too much.
    I actually got a good, solid picture in my head now and I'm ready to start writing it.
     

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