I usually post Writing Tips on Thursday, but with Nanowrimo officially starting I thought today would be a great day to post an entry for my Writing Tips series.
Don’t you wish there was some magic formula that said, Start you story HERE like that sign to the left? Haha, me too, but hopefully this post can help point you in the right direction.
I admit it, I was a backstory queen when I first started writing. But I think that had more to do with the fact I was 1) initially a total seat-of-the-pants writer and 2) I didn’t plan my characters. They evolved as I wrote the story. Therefore my first two or three chapters were really me creating long, drawn out–very involved–character sheets. Heh.
Then a writer friend passed along a concept that has stayed with me…
Start your story where your character’s conflict and your plot’s conflict collide.
I’ve never forgotten it. Did it change how I started my books? Sure it did. But what I also discovered was that my progress slowed a bit in the beginning, because (apparently) I needed those first two chapters to get to know my characters inside and out. That was my muse’s process.
Now, instead of having to cut the initial three chapters, I’ll have to go back and flesh out the beginning. I also now create a detailed outline as a way to get to know my characters. That way I’ll know what I need to go back and work on for more for clarification.
Keeping that rule of thumb “how to start my story” in mind has been immensely helpful. It forces me to stay focused and reminds me that all that stuff I’m itching to show about my character right up front can come later, sprinkled in bit by bit.
The nice thing about following the concept of starting where the character’s conflict and the plot’s conflict collide is that you have so many options for a gripping opening scene…from an action scene to a dialogue scene…to even strong narrative. I just ask my character(s): What kind of scenario can I put you in that represents the crux of YOUR issue and the story’s main plot? and then I’m off and
running, er typing. 🙂
Hopefully you will be too. Best of luck, you Nanowrimo-ers!
Also, I wanted to highlight a couple of recent reviews BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS received. Thank you to Angel’s 909 Reviews, Ron C. Nieto and Romancing the Book for the wonderful reviews!