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November 10th, 2003, 11:16 PM
Just wondering how you guys start off your stories. For me, the beginning is the toughest part to write, but once I get going it gets easier. So, how do you guys start off? What kind of scenes do you find are the most successful to kick off the story?

November 11th, 2003, 01:43 PM
Depends on the story. What do you mean?

Generaly, when I want to write a large story (like an... epic :) ), I begin small and grow wide, then small again, as much as I can after... That means that I begin with few character POVs, then expand, then expand, then expand, then I try to gather the loose ends.

November 11th, 2003, 05:12 PM
I usually begin with an action sequence or something dramatic that may or may not be related to the actual plot (a lot of time it's not). This serves to introduce a couple of the major players and to really set the general time/place (i.e. Modern day, future, fantasy world, etc).

Then, I slowly build into the story proper with a plot related challenge or character development.

November 11th, 2003, 05:12 PM
I, too, find it hard to begin. Sometimes I find it useful to just put anything down, so that I can at least get into the story. Worrying about the first lines when you've still got another 90,000 words to write can be a bit of a hindrance sometimes - after all there's nothing stopping you from revising the beginning once you've finished your first draft.

But what I like to do, when the writing is going well, is to start right in the middle of the action. It doesn't necessarily have to be an actual action scene, just a scene that shows the story is already in full swing. Starting with pages of history and introductions is boring (IMO) and I find that readers can generally pick things up as they go along as long as you weave the information into the text successfully.

November 14th, 2003, 05:47 PM
The last couple of stories I've started with dialogue that tries to give you a feel for the main character...for example in my latest catastrophe..er story, it begins with a discussion between the 'hero' and his boss, whoes firing him for getting in too many fights (the hero was working as a bouncer). I was thinking about starting with the fight, but I want to hit at the protaganist's capacity for violence, rather then just show it. It also gives me an opportunity to show how he justifies his reactions, rather then just showing them.

General question- starting with dialogue. Good or bad?

November 15th, 2003, 04:13 AM
I actually find the beginning is the easiest bit to write. I have files full of descriptions of action scenes, or other lines that I feel will get a reader's attention. If a scene pops into my head, I try to get it down on paper - let it come, then decide if I have a storyline to continue it with later on. Keeping it interesting I find is the difficult bit. As soon as I start to introduce dialogue I become totally disatisfied with what I've done.

November 15th, 2003, 04:43 AM
I steal Sammie's.

Seriously though, I always try and start with a line that drags you in kicking and screaming. I usually end up editing it out and having something much more mundane but that's me I suppose. If you meant where do I get ideas from with which to start I don't really know. Sometimes they are just there, some have evolved form images in my head, some just happened as I wrote on from a first line I wanted to use. On one ocasion I used the first few lines from a song to give me a mental picture which I expanded into a story (not quite finished yet actually, better get back to that one...)

J (Rambling as ever)

November 15th, 2003, 07:44 AM
Starting a story:

What do you mean?

The idea, the "something" that plants the seed of the story or the first words you write after you have the idea.

Two different things. The first for me is in the back of my mind all the time as I work on, research and write the story. Though the story grows and changes as it is written. The basic idea is the guiding light so to speak.

It can be any thing that causes me to want to write the story..... sadly at the moment I don't have any at all... sort in a bit of a drought. The last rejection has taken the wind out of sails completey add to which I am not that well, haven't been for a while and it will be a while before I am back on my feet... the mind is willing but the flesh is falling apart....lol.........

If you mean the first words, I try to catch the reader's imgination, tease him/her with enough to get him/her to continue reading.

Some times it is dialogue, some times it is description, but I try to plunge the reader right into the story, nothing worse in my opinion than a huge infor dump on the first page....

November 15th, 2003, 09:24 PM
Hoping and praying I'll make it passed the first few pages. That's my biggest problem is I can never get through the beginning. I am very self critical, overly so. With every word I type I have that nawing feeling that it will suck!:(

November 16th, 2003, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by Jacquin
On one ocasion I used the first few lines from a song to give me a mental picture which I expanded into a story (not quite finished yet actually, better get back to that one...) Can I just point out that this is a genuine example of him stealing one of my ideas!! Alright with me it was ONLY an idea, whereas when i mentioned it he actually did it - but even so! :D

Originally posted by Holbrook
....nothing worse in my opinion than a huge infor dump on the first page.... Couldn't agree more. Partly cos it's boring, and partly because, imo, the writer should aim to keep the reader in the dark enough that they want to read on, to find out more.