Wednesday, January 5, 2011


We are taught to write beginnings like this...

But maybe your story needs a beginning like this...

Or this...

I try to remember

Sometimes you don't need all of this....

If what needs to be heard is this...

And people will ignore too much of this...

But will make an effort to listen to this...

Never be afraid to do this...

And if your writing is making you do this...

Be confident your readers will be doing this.


  1. Elspeth - Oh, well-put! Or portrayed. Or whatever. I think writers need to be reminded to listen to that inner voice that tells them something is really good or isn't. If the writer is "feelin' it" that'll come through and readers will feel it, too.

    And I agree with you about beginnings. They don't need to be full of trumpet fanfare. Something that gets the reader's attention can be as simple as a falling leaf.

  2. Best piece of advice I've ever gotten regarding beginnings (from Kurt Vonnegut, passed on to me by my brilliant twin brother): Always begin as close to the middle of the story as possible.

  3. Love the kittie, but then I'm a real sap when it comes to cute kittens. And I love tearing the rules. We need to forget about the rules when doing first drafts. Don't impede the story by worrying about rules of craft. Deal with those in the second draft.

  4. The beginning has to capture me not beat me up.
    I love the way you "show" things.

  5. Very good reminders. Thanks. Love the smiling kitty :)

  6. Margot; It always seems to come down to self-trust, doesn't it?

    Elisa; It's good advice, but then where do you put the beginning? Do you drop it in in little bits throughout the story?

    Maryann; Or third, or fourth, or fifth! But always listen to yourself and pay attention to the bits or structure that make you smile.

    Mary; I don't honestly like reading books that throw me into the deep end right at the beginning. I find it forced. Thanks for your kind words; they're appreciated.

    Carol; I love the smiley kitty too! I couldn't resist him.

  7. I rarely write the 'real' beginning first. It comes to me about 3 or 4 chapters into the book. Which is an improvement; when I started it was more like 8.

    Now, if I could get some help with endings, maybe I'd finish my WIP.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  8. Terry; I'm the same way; it takes me a while to realize how I need to start. I have confidence you'll write a perfect ending for your WIP!

  9. I tend to try to go with my gut when beginning a new story but there is definitely pressure to start off with a bang and set everything up right up front. It can bog down a story too much if not handled correctly.

  10. This is absolutely fantastic. Thank you for sharing, Elspeth.

  11. Love this post! Beginnings are always tough, but you've made them simple. ;)

  12. Absolutely correct, and love the kitty too!

  13. Great point, Elspeth, and love the illustrations!

  14. I agree...and I LOVE this post! :)

    Happy 2011, Eslpeth!


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