History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Beginnings are Hard

A blank pageTime and again, I return to the same problem: starting something new is hard.

I often have story ideas in my head, or in hastily scribbled notes, where I know exactly what needs to happen. But I don’t always know how that story starts, or where it starts.

I worked on a story recently where I got about 1,500 words in and realized that the story hadn’t actually started yet. I was having fun writing the character and her interactions, but it wasn’t getting anywhere, and I was having a hard time getting her to where something interesting could happen. I knew exactly what that interesting thing was, but it didn’t seem right to throw her straight into that, either. So I’m having to reconsider that story now, to figure out how to make it work.

For another story, I knew what I needed to happen to kick the story off, but I needed the larger situation to make it work. And thus, I wound up with a character on a blind date when things start going not entirely as planned, but not for the reasons you might suspect.

Beginnings are always hard, but sometimes you just have to try things out to see what sticks. In my first example, walking to the plot didn’t stick, and I may need to just throw my character into the deep end and let her find her way out. In the second example, once I figured out what my character wanted other than the plot related things, I found a good way to bring her to the plot without too much difficulty.


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