Writing, Writing Wednesday

Where to Begin?

For me starting a story is like starting a lawn mower. First I squeeze the lever up to the handle, then I pull the cord once, twice, sometimes thrice, before I hear the engine catch. Then I'm good to go until the grass is at least half cut, or I have to stop to pick up a fallen branch or abandoned tow and then I have to restart the engine. It takes me more than three tries to start a story.

That whole captivate the reader from the start philosophy gets in my head. I start trying to second guess what readers want and stop just writing the story. To keep my self-editor mute, I sometimes won't write those opening lines until after I've completed the rough draft.  My internal editor turns on when I worry too much about if those first pages pull the reader in. I can't write with her on. Each word becomes a laborious choice, taking hours to write a paragraph. I'll write one sentence fifty different ways instead of fifty different sentences.

I think of this as the movie making approach to writing. When a movie is being filmed, it's not done in order. All scenes for a particular location or actors with small roles are shot at around the same time, regardless of its place in the plot.

I don't have to deal with actors or locations, but I do have to deal with words and sometimes the words are flowing better for one part of the story than whatever is the next chronological part. I start writing which ever scene I know the most about, even if it's the end. I sometimes start at the end. I skip to which ever scene captivates me at the moment. This method often leaves holes in the roughest draft, but I fill them in during the revision process.

This is my method that allows me to get from the once upon a time to the they lived happily ever after. I have so many collections of incomplete stories from before I started writing this way. If I got stuck I would continue to try to write the next chapter until I got discouraged and put the work on the back burner then eventually into a box.

Getting the words on the page is more important than getting them on the page in order. Just keep writing!