Books · Writing

The Perfect Beginning

The start of a story is my favorite part of the book and also the portion that takes me the longest to write. I never know how to start it off just right and land up trying a few different ways. Sometimes I start too early in the story, other times I start too late. Since I started using the Snowflake method to outline, I’ve had a little easier time. Now, I don’t adhere strictly to the outline, instead I use it as a way to get to know my characters and the plot before I start writing. I have a better sense of what the story is about and what the theme/heart of the story that I want to share with readers.

This time around, I found myself with two perfect beginnings for the book I’m writing for NaNoWriMo, Safe and Sound the third in the New Beginning series. I could ‘see’ the scenes playing out in my head. It would seem the most logical thing was to put together for one fabulous start, but while both Chapter One’s worked for the story,  same end would be reached, how it would be achieved was different. The theme and heart of the story would be a little different, and each one had a different character focus so I needed to pick.

I pondered the decision for days. I did some brief outline to figuring out which scenario played out best over the course of the novel. Still couldn’t decide. I finally took my dilemma to Facebook and whined about it … just a little. There’s nothing like venting to others who understand the problems of the writing process.

Fortunately, a friend took pity on me and showed me the correct path. She said maybe it was two books. To be honest, at first I wasn’t thrilled with her brilliance. I mean two books! I was having enough trouble with one but like the good over-thinker that I am, I thought about what she said for a long time. I realized she was right. Two books. I’m contracted for two more books in this series, so which beginning would work better for another books. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t setting up the suspense threads in similar ways.

Then the choice became clear. There was one beginning that was unique to this plot and conflict and wouldn’t work for another book. I guess it could, but the chances for this particular scenario to happen again would stretch believability too much. The other beginning could be tweaked and fit another one of the books. Also, realizing how unique the first beginning was to this particular story made it the hands down winner. I needed the unique start. The one suited for this book … not just any book.

So, I’m writing away with beginning number one and hope to complete NaNoWriMo this year. If not, I’ll come out of it with a great beginning for book 3 in the New Beginnings series.

2 thoughts on “The Perfect Beginning

  1. Christina –

    The writing process can be a daunting task, to say the least. Whenever I feel that I’m conceptually spinning my wheels, I take a step back and divert my attention away from the issue that is perplexing me. After doing so, that missing element, absent thought, or inconsistent flow seems to magically be addressed with an answer or solution, thereby rectifying the problem.

    As writers very well know, ideas cannot be forced. They are fleeting, and materialize when they are ready; and it behooves us to be prepared when they do. I try to avoid stressing-out too much when confronted with that challenge. I believe that ideas are plentiful, for they are drawn from the infinite storehouse of our creative mind and usually appear right on time…as will yours continue to do so!

    Isn’t the fact that you’ve written books before a true testament? I would think so.

    I wish you the best and continued success in all your writing endeavors!


  2. Kevin,

    I read your post and was shocked, you knew what some of my biggest issues are without me having said them. Stressing out is probably one of the biggest hurdles I face writing, I get so focused on doing it ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ that I can’t get anything done.

    And, I also face that fear of ‘can I do it again’ with the start of every book. I worry if I can do it. I sit and think about how long it’s been since I wrote a ‘new’ book rather than edit a book already written. I have written books before and had them published. I have to keep remembering that.

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement.


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