Where Does Your Stories Start?
What do you write first?
The beginning? The middle? The end?
By the time I start a story, I’ve already been thinking about it for quite a while. I know some of the basic plot points, such as where it starts, perhaps a few scene ideas, plus the climax. I also know who the story is about, including their basic appearance, back story, and a bit of personality. Finally, I like to know where the story takes place before I start anything (for a fantasy story, of course, more attention goes into this aspect than, say, a contemporary story, because the setting is a strong element of the fantasy genre…but that’s a whole other discussion). In that preliminary stage, I tend to take a lot of “what if” kinds of notes. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if the character reacts this way? These notes are my way of getting to know the story and the character before I start writing, so that when I do dive in, I have at least somewhat of an idea of how things will progress.
As far as the writing is concerned, I tend to work fairly linearly. I start at the beginning of the story and work my way toward the end. On occasion, I’ll write a piece of a later scene that I’m working toward, but it’s never a complete scene—usually just detailed notes with a few sentences I didn’t want to forget. Working from beginning to end allows me to view the story the way the reader will view it. It also allows me to keep better track of information and how things unravel, because my mind is moving forward with the story, rather than jumping around and becoming jumbled up in the details.
But that’s just how my brain works—every writer is different, and has a different process. I try to keep my process as straightforward as possible, so my creativity has room to breathe.
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The Author in all of us
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