Writing Tips ~ Where to Start Your Story

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!

5 Stars! “…P.T. Michelle will leave you dying for more! Over all, this is a great story of love, mystery, loss, gain, friendship, and adventure. I cannot wait for P.T.’s next novel!
Brightest Kind of Darkness will have you on the edge of your seat, fighting every need you may have, just to read one more page, and always dying for more. With great characters, a strong plotline, and a never-ending supply of action—this novel is the perfect read, and will have you questioning everything from, “What will happen next?” to, “Just how far you would go to keep the ones you love most, safe?”  Click here to read the entire review at 909 Reviews
4 Stars! “I do have one roaring complaint about Brightest Kind of Darkness: I want more of it! There are so many things I thoroughly enjoyed from this book. For starters, the action was non-stop. From the opening scene, which put me on edge and shot up my adrenaline even when I wasn’t yet invested in the characters, all the way through to the very end, I was glued to the pages and unable to turn away! Every spare moment I had, I invested into reading more, into trying to figure out the mystery of the dreams and the visions and the crows and…Wait. I’m not making much sense, am I? I always try not to spoil reads, though, so I can’t really explain what the above referred to, but I can promise that you’ll be hooked from one issue to the next…”  Click here to read the entire review at Stories of My Life
4 Stars! “This was an exceptional Young Adult novel. I grew attached to the characters pretty early in book and was with them everything step of the way…”  Click here to read the entire review at Romancing the Book.