Monday, December 6, 2010

The Opening Gambit

Beginnings are always a problem. I’ve heard many people say that it’s easy to begin, but hard to continue, but that is not necessarily true. If you think about it logically, it should be easy to begin something.
However, when we look at this from a writer’s point of view, beginning is a problem, because it is so easy to do.
I think it was Orson Scott Card who said that the beginning is what makes a story. A good beginning makes a good story and vice versa. Where to begin, when to begin, who to begin with? Choosing the correct viewpoint can make a great difference in how readers see your characters.
When you start a story too rashly, without thinking of how the beginning will impact your story, you could have quite a mess on your hands. Since the beginning shapes the whole story (events that follow on the beginning, working from it and forming from it, especially if you’re a pantser), you will often have to rewrite large amounts of prose if you want to fix it.
Thus, when you start, it is a delicate process where you should have a good idea where you want your story to go. Think carefully. That is the point. The beginning is what makes the end. Even when you write with only a vague idea in mind, you should have some sort of idea where your story will lead. Think of what beginning would complement or enhance your ending. What beginning would most naturally lead to your ending.
When you’ve gotten an answer from that, you can begin with ease.

For me, this is a new beginning. I’ve thought long and hard on it, and now the start is in my hands. I hope to be a published writer someday and I will be working to feed myself until then. South Africa is where I live. It’s not really the central hub of creative thinking, but I manage anyway. I’m still studying for a creative writing degree, so I’m mostly broke or in debt, or both. Luckily, I get free lodging at this point, but then again, who knows how long that will hold.
From this point on, I’ll try to make informative posts in regard to writing. Things I learn or just musings about the writing life or techniques. I hope not to bore anyone to death and hopefully this will be an interesting place to visit.

Feel free to leave comments or email me at jakehenegan (at) gmail (dot) com.

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