29 March 2006

In the beginning

In the Sound of Music, Maria offers the following piece of advice: Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start."

Word Nerd guesses that tidbit works when teaching people how to sing (obviously, the musical doesn't end there) but in writing that piece of advice is, how shall we say it, more fluid.

The beginning isn't always clear.

Case in point: Yesterday, Word Nerd started tinkering with another little story featuring the Lady Aisling and Tulio di Lorenzo, from her story "21." It was going well, making sense. Until, all of sudden, hours later, Word Nerd realized the place she was starting this new escapade was completely wrong. The story doesn't begin in a coffee shop. Oh no, it likely begins in Tulio's house.

Case in point #2: Last summer Word Nerd wrote a story for the Aestival Festival contest in Menasha about a woman going to witness an execution in the state of Florida. The first draft started with her in the car driving to the prison. The final version begins with her pulling into the parking lot of the prison.

Beginnings are an important thing in a story. Too weak, the reader stops reading. Too far from the action of the story, the reader may also bail because nothing's happening.

If you are writing and are unsure of the beginning, try it another way or skip ahead in the story to a place where you know the plot.

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