The best writers I’ve known tend to break the rules. Many of these rules are pretty silly anyway. Among the wackiest is the idea that the writing process must always start at the beginning of the story.
It’s just not so, Captain Picard.
Some writers do start at the beginning of the story. It’s how they work and it makes their writing life orderly and predictable. Others struggle over where to begin, how to take that first step. They battle and writhe around those first few sentences, the first scene, the opening chapter. They fret and get blocked, worry and strain. Yikes! Where’s the fun in that?
Banish the beginning, I say. Just move on.
No story can ever start at the beginning. There is no beginning. Everything begins somewhere in the middle, some place after the pre-story. Stories don’t end, they just pause. So, why worry about the beginning at all?
Instead, start with an important scene, a place that means something to you and the story. Forget the old rules of linear writing and ordered thinking. Write that important scene, introduce a vital character, offer a little problem or solve a bigger one. Then, write around the core you’ve just created.
In fact, take it further. Create a scene here and there. Make a new character appear, disappear, change shapes, howl moods, blurt out statements, take risks, overcome or be destroyed. Just make a piece of the story and enjoy the art of creation. Worry about fitting that piece into the puzzle later, perhaps much later. If you’re a true writer, the orderliness of the story line will emerge on its own.
If the beginning is where you gag and go dry, you should throw it away, for now. Move on to where your writing heart feels the pull of the story line. Go where your favorite character leads. Disorganize yourself and let the words flow. Don’t stand outside the story, jump into it with both feet.
There are so many rules to break, so many useless ways to stifle your writing heart. To write the beginning of your story first is one of them. It’s an easy rule to ignore. Whoever came up with the idea was probably not a soul-writer anyway. Ignore the advice and enjoy the freedom in your art.
Begin where your writing heart leads you. Worry about putting the pieces together when you get a few drafts under your belt, not before. You’ll feel much better about the writing process and your readers will benefit from the unfettered flow of your words.
And that’s the beginning of the story.