Writing the beginning of your story

Filed in Getting Started, writingTags: , ,

It can be daunting to put anything on that blank sheet of paper

The beginning of your story is extremely important, as that’s what you’re going to use to hook your reader. I personally prefer an opening that drops you into the setting, then lets it slowly unfold around you (this is used in Brave New World, for example), rather than giving a short description and history of the setting, simply because it’s more fun for me that way, and it’s easier to integrate new ideas. However, a short explanation of the universe, or noting something that drives the plot, like increasing tensions within the kingdom do have their advantages, as well, such as giving an explanation for what’s driving the story from the get go. Find what works for you, and don’t force a square peg into a round hole, just because others think it’s better to do so. This is your project, after all.

As to what your beginning should have, ideally it should create the initial characterization for the main character, and any other characters that have reason to be there, and maybe his/her motivation. If the event(s) that sets the plot in motion hasn’t happened yet, then the motivation is less important (though, such event(s) should happen very early into the story, anyway, lest you annoy your reader).

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning of the story. If you have a clear idea of how you want your story to end, but your idea on how to start is less clear, you could always write your ending first, and see about writing your beginning later, as well.

Side news: I heard about Steve Jobs’ death yesterday evening, and, honestly, though the only Apple product I’ve ever owned is a copy of iTunes, I really don’t know how to respond to this news. Death is such an odd thing, indeed.

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