1. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Trouble Starting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Unlucky#7, Jun 2, 2011.

    Okay, for me, starting a novel is always the hard part. I have all the ideas in my head for how I want the story to go except how to begin it. And that writer's block in the very beginning of all my stories is the reason why I can never complete anything.
    Anyone have any tips they would like to share on how to start a novel?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It's always the hard part? You've done this before? How did you work through it the other times?

    Okay, okay, just giving you a slightly hard time. My advice? Fast forward to the part of the story that you're certain of, and start from there. Seriously. If that doesn't ultimately satisfy you as a starting point for your story, you'll think of something by the time you start reviewing and editing.
     
  3. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Too many questions!! I'm about to hyperventilate...haha, kidding. :)

    Hmm..I see what you mean. The thing is though, I have the idea like the plot, characters, a general idea. I'm just having trouble thinking of a good scene to begin with. I don't want to rush into anything, but I also don't want to bore the reader the second they start reading. But, true, after I get all my brain juices flowing into the other parts of the story, I'll probably be able to come up with something for the beginning. Haha, thanks! :)
     
  4. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    Do you have an outline? I've found that I tend to do much better when I have an outline--I start by writing out my general ideas for the story, then all the information I can about the characters. After that I typically outline it something like this:

    Introduction/Setup - How to introduce the story and characters, and possibly set up the conflict
    Conflict(s) - Write out details you want to include about your conflict or conflicts, including possible climactic scenes
    Resolution - What brings the conflict to a close and how do you want to end the story?

    I find that I typically write the Introduction/Setup section last, even though it comes first, chronologically. Outlining the other aspects gives me a better idea of how to start.
     
  5. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Ahh..an outline. That would probably do loads of help. No joke. It would be nice to take all my ideas out of my head and have them laid out and organized in front of me. Never really thought about that because I usually blow off outlines I have to do for school. But considering this would be on something I'm interested in and willing to invest my time in, I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks you two! Both of you have been extremely helpful. I like having more than one option on how to do something. Wow, this forum is already proving its usefulness. Haha :)
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I always struggle with beginnings too. Usually I write every other part of the story first and write or rewrite the beginning after.
     
  7. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Haha, I don't know what my deal is but I hate doing things out of order. But, hey, I'll give a go at all your different suggestions and see what works best for me. :)
     
  8. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Good luck. I know how difficult beginnings are. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Haha, thanks!
     
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  10. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I like to start with something exciting, and I'm sure my reader would too.
    The guys are right about an outline though, that definately helps, and to have the themes and ideas to hand as well.
    Right now I'm doing a load of research (that helps keep things moving and avoids plot holes).
    However, to get started just dive in and have fun, because if you're anything like me it's likely you will revise the introduction about a hundred times.

    Good luck :)
     
  11. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Hey Declan! I agree that starting something exciting is always fun for the writer and enjoyable for the reader. Haha. I'm actually doing some research right now too as it turns out, mainly because I couldn't find anything else to do... I think my main problem is I want my first draft to be perfect and I know that's impossible. But! I'm just going to do everything you guys told me to do, have fun with it, and not worry too much about it being perfect right now. :)
     
  12. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Exactly. Another tip which I am always telling my girlfriend is to not worry about cliches too much in the first draft- root them out after that part is written.
    May I ask what your novel is about?
     
  13. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Ehh..it's kind of confusing. I'm trying to get everything sorted out right now. But what I do know is it's fiction and has to do with a select group of teens that are secretly trained by the government and injected with a longevity drug that fools with their DNA and gives them "superpowers." Yes, another "superhero" story. ;) Haha, I mean it's sort of. So far I've spanned the story to fit into 5 books because the whole theme and idea is too big to fit into one book.
     
  14. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I think you can do a lot with superhero stories, they're always open to re-invention.
    It's got a huge reading base too, so there's always room for more.
    Good luck getting it going :)
     
  15. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Haha, but it's not really a superhero story...I honestly don't know what it is! Haha, but hopefully I can finally get some of it down on paper (or in this case typed up on Word ;) ) and see what sort of reviews I receive.
     
  16. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I usually start by describing the character doing something. To get the reader hooked, I recommend having some sort of major action happening soon into the story.

    If all else fails, have the protag living a normal life, "just as usual", then suddenly something happens and we're on the slippery slope and before you know it Sauron's exploding and Darth Sidious is falling and Voldemort is having a heart attack.
     
  17. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Hahaha! Great idea ;) I've actually come up with the idea of starting with a flashback, though so that the reader can see into the history of the character without me having to state it boringly. But I'm hoping I'll be able to bring in some major action soon. Then I can explode something so the bad guy will fall and have a heart attack. ;)
     
  18. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    I've found that the first couple paragraphs of my novel tend to set the tone of my novel throughout and so when starting the novel, the best trick I have learned is to start with a specific image/tone/prose that you want your novel to be like. Everything tends to be easier for me once I figure out my tone and I find my words and prose mold and shape themselves to that specific "diction" that I want.

    A great way to start is with a quote or a sentence that possess personality in accordance to your novel. You don't have to use that quote to start your novel, but put it up and begin writing your novel by trying to emulate that style/dialect/tone and just start writing. I find this to be one of the most helpful tricks when having trouble with a beginning - the tone for me is everything.

    And don't pick a quote that is nine sentences long. Just one-two sentences, so that whatever personality you see in that quote is really of your own making.
     
  19. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I like the idea of starting out with a flashback, because it lets the reader into the story and mind of the character and provides an interesting beginning.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I advice against starting with a flashback, because it would slow everything down and delay the beginning when you should instead try to catch the reader right from the start with someting that is happening right then and there. It doesn't have to be an action scene, just make someone DO something instead of just looking back at previous events. You can provide the same information anyway without an infodump. I think most readers prefer having the necessary information woven into the story little by little in a way that doesn't put the story on hold.
     
  21. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Don't confuse the beginning of your story with the start of your writing. I remember reading a bit where JK Rowling used a piece of writing from 13 years ago as the start of Half Blooded Prince. At the end of the day, you can start writing the end of the novel first.

    Remember, it's probably just fear of failure that holds you back- and the only way to beat that is total immersion! Get stuck in there. You've got a good support group in the writing forums.
     
  22. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    I see what you're saying..that's definitely a big part of it. I've never done a project as big as a novel before and I guess it makes me just a bit unnerving. I gotta say though, I doubt I would ever be motivated enough to begin if it wasn't for the writing forums. So thanks all of you! :)
     
  23. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    I'm sorry, I didn't notice the extra comments...

    See, that was what I was thinking. It was the only way I could start off with an interesting beginning and help the readers understand and connect with the main character.

    See, the plot and theme for me is everything. I probably should pay more attention to tone because it would probably help with my diction (which my English teacher has told me is my weakest point). But I doubt I could find a quote that would sum up and set the tone for my story.

    I see what you mean. But I just don't see how I could catch the reader from what is happening in the present. Where the present is starting, there isn't much happening - mainly just trying to get established in a new town. But, in the flashback, there is a vital piece of information about the character I want the readers to know because it explains why the character acts and thinks the way she does. And also I'm going to write it as if it was in the present in order not to make it sound like I'm just throwing information at the reader. (Also, it might be helpful to know I'm writing third person.)

    Do you think that kind of flashback would work? This is the first time I've ever actually attempted a novel and I really value other people's thoughts.
     
  24. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    My problem is exactly the same as yours! and I, too, am a perfectionist and want my first draft to be perfect :p however, I have accepted it just won't happen. Instead of focusing on the beginning, I have written out scenes that I know I want in my story with the possibilty of them being edited later on.

    I think once you accept that your first draft won't be perfect and you just start writing that parts that you know then the rest will come along. I'm not saying it will be easy or you won't suffer from writer's block but it will just get easier as things pan out.

    Good luck!! :)
     
  25. Unlucky#7
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    Unlucky#7 Member

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    Haha, I agree acceptance and having a "go get 'em" attitude will always prevail in the end. It's good to know I'm not the only one who struggles with beginnings! Haha, thanks. :)
     

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