My thoughts on beginnings…

There is no struggle equivalent to that of starting a brand new story.   That isn’t to say it’s the hardest task in the world, nor the most anguishing, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting down to a blank OpenOffice document, you know what I mean.  It’s a unique sort of struggle that generally initiates a torrid love affair with the backspace key, a violent and bloody battle against your Muse (who sometimes sees fit to fight on your side against your Imagination), and a feeling at the end that can equate either to heart-bursting victory or soul-crushing defeat.

Paragraph One is usually my personal nightmare.  It makes me flail, whine, and face-plant onto my keyboard, though once I get past it I generally get on a roll.  It pleases me.

Then I hit the Chapter One road block.  There’s this big, blinking sign in my head that says “Detour!”, so I take that detour (obviously, because what other choice do I have, right?  Traffic is going that way, and backing up behind me, and I really can’t do anything but take the left my Muse is waving me toward) and find myself so completely off the Main Plot track that I get lost in the Sub-Plot Bogs of Inevitable Doom.  It’s a messy place, those bogs.  You get stuck and cry a lot–Have you ever seen The Neverending Story?  Yeah.  Exactly like that.  If you have a horse, it’ll probably get sad and die, too.  It’s terrible.

Sometime around Chapter Five, I manage to find the route I was on to begin with, the detour ends, and I’m happily chugging along toward The Middle.  The Middle is like this big gray mass of… paste.  Or… gravy.  I don’t know, but it’s sticky, bland, and makes for a rough clean up.  All of what I wanted for the story gets dropped into this gray gravy-paste to make a chunky stew of… whatthehellever.  I braid my sub plots (scary vines I stole from the aforementioned Sub-Plot Bogs of Inevitable Doom) so I can weave a vine-bowl, and I dump my stew in.  Hopefully it cooks the way I want it to, so when I eat it I can power on to a very awesome, clean-and-tidy ending.

By the end of The Middle, I’m so exhausted, I throw the ending together as quick-and-dirty as possible, polish the ball-o-plot-stew as well as I can, and give it a big fat hug.

… Before throwing it onto my flash drive to be revised when I stop feeling dirty for writing it.  Beginnings make me crazy, and subsequently make me suck at middles, and resent/celebrate endings.

I even got a little lost writing this post.  No more caffeine for Kit.  Dear god.  x_x



Filed under Writing

4 responses to “My thoughts on beginnings…

  1. unabridgedgirl

    The first paragraph isn’t just my problem. I’d say the first three pages of a story are my biggest struggle. I also get side tracked with sub-plots, which is bad bad bad! LoL

  2. jesseowalls

    When I write, I usually have a goal in mind…an ending or possible ending at least, and then I start at page one, thinking to myself ‘Where do I begin?’ That first paragraph, as well as first chapter, are crucial to making the whole thing fit together, and if I start at the wrong point, I find myself going back constantly and rewriting and rewriting. It is hard to decide where exactly to begin a work and what exactly I want the first scene to portray. It is a struggle, but usually worth it in the end.

    • See, I always start with a rough outline, and tweak as I see fit to tweak. The beginning NEVER FAILS in trying to kill me, though. Vendetta, I expect.

      No matter how much I complain about it, though, writing is still my very favorite thing to do, whether or not it’s good enough to be published.

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