Have you ever gotten excited about a story idea only to have your enthusiasm squelched by the blank page? I have. Whether I’m gently cupping the first smoldering cinder of a new tale in my eager hands, or carefully holding the almost-fully realized story in my mind; when I sit down at the keyboard to type those critical first words, I freeze.
The pressure of finding the “just right” way to begin is too much.
We all know how important beginnings are. Those first lines are what will (or won’t) grab your reader. They set the scene and the tone for everything that follows. In short, they can make or break your story.
It’s a lot to ask of a few hundred words.
But here’s the thing – you don’t have to start at the beginning. In fact, most of the time it’s better to start in the middle.
Just because, ultimately, your story will be read in a linear fashion doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Start where you are inspired. You are the writer. You’re in charge. You can drop into your story anywhere you feel like it. You can write it backwards if you want to. (Some people do.)
Often, even if you think you’re starting at the beginning, you will go back to find that your real beginning is buried somewhere on page three, or page thirty-three. Sometimes you have to write that much to figure out your best beginning. By charging ahead, you can take advantage of the chance to do a little reverse engineering and craft a beginning that launches your story perfectly.
Beginnings are hard, so don’t start there. Just start. You’ll get around to writing the beginning … eventually.