Saturday, April 06, 2013

Finding the WRITE starting point

I've gotten a little bit behind in my planned writing schedule, as this has been yet another week of constant interruptions; all have been important, though.

But whereas previously, I would have been worried, or would have allowed myself to be drifted away along the raft in life's river current, this time, this time I have been mentally searching for times when I can make a break to swim to shore (- wow, I'm full of cliches, today but its a good anecdote for my point).

Last weekend, I wrote an outline and started on Chapter One for the storyline I have decided I most want to aspire to get published first of the handful of stories I aim to get published one day; and after two days writing almost two thousand words towards the manuscript I haven't had an opportunity before or after work to add even one word to its word count.  Itching to write, but unable to, I utilised my time on the raft when I could at least thinking about my manuscript, so writing the next part of the scene this weekend should be relatively easier to complete than if I hadn't done this mental preparation work.

You see, I learned along time ago in my writer's life that I have to write the story down rather than talk about it (directly), because otherwise the story feels 'done' before it is even started, and I then lose enthusiasm for the project. So although I will mention the manuscript from time to time, you probably won't get to learn much, if anything, about the storyline or genre etc until I have completed the first draft. 

For those of you interested, like myself, in writer's processes though, I will say, that I got the idea for this particular story about three or four years ago, and I have written nearly one hundred thousand words in manuscripts (yes, manuscripts not manuscript), and vastly more in story notes to sort out the jigsaw bits within my brain to gain a clearer picture of what the finished result will look like.  But, even though I have let this idea simmer in the back (and at times the front) of my mind over this time,  and have re-started trying to tell this tale - because I know exactly how it is going to end - my problem has been nothing short of torture in trying to find the story's right starting point.

I have my main character fully in mind from about the middle point to the story's end, even though the female character has undergone a couple of name and location changes.  I have, umm... experimented ... with getting the manuscript written, trying various different angles with which to get the story rolling. But none of them have been right.  And I haven't been able to just start in the middle and write to the end and then come back to my beginning later, because I've tried that too, and that resulted only in illogical character actions and gaping plot holes and the inclusion of unnecessary and exclusion of needed scenes and actions making the story even more confusing for me in what I am keeping and or discarding.

After months of putting distance between myself and the story, I finally came up with another possible starting point to follow. Hence, my renewed attempts. And to freshen up my story in conjunction with the new starting point, I have given it a new working title.

Anyway, if I am a bit quiet here on my blog over the next few weeks, despite having entered the 30 day blogging challenge, then this will be a good thing, because it should mean that I am progressing in my story project and not needing to use short writing goals to get (and keep) me in the writer's frame of mind.

Do you find it difficult to start your writing projects off, be they essays, letters, or full length novels?  Do you have any tips or tricks that help you find that perfect WRITE starting point?  I'd love to hear them!


  1. I found that I had to rewrite my first chapter over and over again all this week because the beginning just didn't seem like the place to start. My tip is, listen to your character. When do they seem to start getting interested in their own story? When does it get to the point where your pen is writing on its own when you are jotting down notes on the particular chapter? That is where you should begin, because that is where the story truly begins. At least, that is how it has been for me.

    1. Hi Kara Ann Alice, thanks for commenting!

      It is good to help me feel that I am not alone in having to rewrite the first chapter multiple times reading that this happens to other writers. Your words 'When does it get to the point where your pen is writing on its own' resonated true for me.

      After having written three and a half thousand words over the last two weekends towards my new starting point, I started over again last night, because when I reread my own words, I found that all I had done was bog my beginning down with backstory, that had been hard to write - so I scrapped everything, and started again.

      But, I have found my characters age and starting circumstance, so I was able to get straight back into it without too much writer angst, and my character seems quite happy (at the moment) that this is her starting point.

      We rewrite because we want our story's to turn out 'just right'; I'm thankful that I can identify (eventually) when it is going wrong, so I have that opportunity to try again.