Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where to begin?

Whether writing a short story or a novel, the beginning can be the toughest part. For me, the beginning is always the toughest part. With novels, once I get past the first couple of chapters, I have little problem going ahead with the rest of the book. With short stories, the beginning is also often the hardest part for me.

Sometimes it's simply a matter of figuring out how to tell the tale, from what perspective or what point of view. Sometimes it's a matter of "feeling," or what kind of aura or emotional quotient one is trying to purvey through the style of the writing for a particular piece. Sometimes it's a matter of knowing where to start the story.

I bring all this up because I'm having a tough time with the start of a short story I'm currently working on. I know how the story begins. I now who the protagonist is. I know how the story will end, and it's middle section too. But I'm having trouble with the style of the story.

I originally opted for sort of a straight action-oriented styled, but I'm findin that works okay for the beginning, but not so much for the ending. Now I'm toying with trying a darker beginning, which would tie in better with the rest of the story, but somehow that doesn't seem to fit quite right either.

For me, it's often just a matter of having time to think, time to figure out stuff like this. But lately I don't have any time for such niceties, so I'm having to plop down in front of the keyboard and just start typing.

Should I wait until I have that time to think? Or plow ahead?

I don't know. But I think I'm going to take at least a couple of days off from writing this piece, just to see if anything clicks in the old brain and maybe to give me a little distance and perspective on the story.

Darkbow out.


Howard von Darkmoor said...

Interesting conundrum. I'd say that, while the breather is usually a good thing, going ahead and typing something is probably better.

Forge your way ahead and pump it out to come back to once you're done to edit it best; or

Just write any old thing and perhaps it segues into what you're looking for, as your mind will be busy mulling things over whilst you're typing and may suddenly interject what you're needing; or

just start typing at the point in your story you already know (the seeming 'middle') and maybe that becomes your new beginning once you're done with the first draft.

See, now, I have the direct opposite problem - and they say that is because I am undisciplined and uncommitted. I can start tales, even get past half way done with them, just can't seem to wrap them up - either they go on and on or they get left hanging, unfinished.

Writing's fun though, eh? ;)

Tam said...

"Begin at the beginning." But that's the can't go too far back into unimportant history and detail that will bore the reader right from the start, just far enough back that the reader understands the sights and sounds of the place, as well as the unique characteristics of your main character and his/her purpose. Then we're ready to travel with that character into the journey and the action and finally, the conclusion. Good luck!

CrazyBunnyLady said...

If you can't start at the beginning, start in the middle. The beginning may find you or you might find out you didn't even need a beginning.