Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where to Start?

"The first sentence is always the most difficult."

That's the post I saw on Twitter from my blogger-friend, Ashley.  Her statement is true: the first sentence is the most difficult to write. It's also the most important.

Katie: I never write it first.
Ashley: What do you write first? I tried the last chapter one time. Failed miserably.
Katie: Somewhere. Usually towards the beginning.

This conversation made me ponder my own writing habits and wonder about yours.  So, in the spirit of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): where do you start when you're writing?

It doesn't necessarily have to be a novel.  It could be a blog post, a poem, or a song.  Where do you start?

Like I told Ashley, I start somewhere towards the beginning but not usually the first line.  The first line is probably the most important line of the novel (or post).  I've heard of people who collect first lines.  The first line is vital, so why start with something so important?

I start later. I have a temporary first line, write the brunt of the piece, and then adjust the first line to be the stunning opening line it should be.  I don't think I write good first lines (except in that one post from Philly last November; that was a killer first line, if I may say so).

I like backstory.  I like to set the scene.  I don't like to jump right in and make the reader try to tread water while he/she is figuring out how deep the lake is and who else is in it.  I write like I think sharks should come with big huge arrows in the sky pointing to them.  But, I have been told that the first line is an awful place for backstory.  What are your thoughts?

Ashley mentioned she tried starting at the end once.  That's what I have in my NaNoWriMo novel: the beginning (sans opening line) and the end.  Now I'm sitting here like a child on Christmas as my parents open their gifts from me and I'm telling them what it is before the paper is off.

I'll ask it again: where do you start?  And why?

I guess it doesn't matter much as long as you start somewhere.

Happy writing,
<>< Katie

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