One of the reasons writer’s suffer a block is because they don’t know how to begin a story. They’ll have characters prepared, a plot outlined, and maybe twists and turns, and yet all they do is stare at a blank page. So why not, start in the middle of the story?
The inspiration for this article comes from an article I recently read called Ten tips and tricks to help you get over Writer’s Block. I was especially drawn to #6 write in the middle as I have done that a few times myself. And, to be honest, writing the beginning of a new story can be daunting. We know how certain scenes will play out and we are always anxious to get there, but when we can’t even write a decent opening to our story we fear that we’ll never make it there. Instead, just start with that scene and continue from that point.
Start with your favorite section
When I was working on Sibling Rivalry, book 2 of The Askinar Towers, I could not wait until I got to my Zombie scenario as I had the idea completely worked out including: how my MCs got there, who were the supporting characters, the eventual outcome, and how they departed the area and continued their adventure.
I started book 2 for NaNoWriMo 2007 and the way I had the story designed, it was a simple matter of writing until I was blocked, then I would jump to the next scenario and continue to write. By the end of the month, I had scenes written for every scenario but the entire book was not yet completed. If memory serves, the zombie scenario was the only part completely written from start to finish.
How about you begin at the End?
A lot of times we’ll write the end of the story towards the end of our writing process but there isn’t any reason why you couldn’t write it first. Some will say, “I don’t even know how my story will end.” And that’s fine because no one said that if you write an ending that it has to be that very ending that you use when you get there.
The purpose of writing your ending first is to give you a finish line that you can see and travel towards as you develop the rest of the story. As you arrive at that finish line you might suddenly find yourself doing a hard 90 degree turn to the right and creating a new finish line to cross.
If you can’t think of an ending for your story, take one of your characters (it doesn’t have to be the MC) and map out their involvement in the story and decide how what happens to them when the story is completed, then write towards their ending and see what transpires for the rest of your story.
When you start a new story there are no rules that say you have to begin on page one, paragraph one, and the first word. Start with the middle of the story or the end and see where your imagination takes you. This is a great way around writer’s block as you can always return to the section you were working on later and fill in details.
Share with me your results from trying these methods. I’d love to hear what worked and what didn’t work for you.
Until next time,