November 30, 2011

beginning again

So, yesterday, I finally started my next novel, and I started it off with a bang. I wrote roughly 3700 words, though I’m pretty sure they’re mostly crap. It happens. Especially with me. It’s a fact: I suck at writing beginnings.

I don’t know what it is about introducing characters and plot and world-building and all that, but I just can’t do it well. The first two chapters of The Clockwork Giant went through a dozen revisions each, and I ended up cutting the entire second chapter in the final draft. So, when I started writing the sequel yesterday, I decided I’d skip the beginning and just get into the story. I had been putting off writing because I wanted the beginning to be perfect right off the bat. A very unrealistic goal. Rather than drive myself crazy trying to get the beginning right, I just jumped into the story right after the introduction stuff would happen. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I’ve never started a book so strong.

However, I still have a lot of work to do before I can write any more. I realized about the time I went to bed last night that my outline wasn’t going to work as plotted. I wrote the first several pages based on the outline I had, but I already added a scene that I didn’t intend, and pulled a scene from later in the book and slapped in the beginning. Which really doesn’t work.

So, I’m going to do some shuffling today, and a scene that I originally planned to be the end of the second chapter, is now going to be the first. The stuff I wrote yesterday will be dispersed through the early chapters of the book, and hopefully, I can whip up an introductory paragraph or two.

Hopefully, when I get the outline straightened out, I can jump back into writing and knock out another 3700 words. I just have to keep in mind that first drafts suck. If I try to make it absolutely perfect, I’ll drive myself crazy. That doesn’t mean I won’t edit as I go, but unless there’s a problem with the story, I shouldn’t sit and dwell on a single scene for a week just to make it perfect, when I may end up cutting it in the final draft.

Beginnings are my weakness, and while they end up being the most polished, they’re often my worst work. Now middles—I pwn middles. Yes. Pwn. Endings, not as bad as beginnings, but still not very good.

Do you have trouble with writing beginnings? Do write chronologically, or skip around and shuffle scenes until they work? What about middles and endings?


  1. I am with you! I have 40 pages of outline and character worksheets...but it took me 2 weeks to start my new novel and its "crap" in the beginning. But if I accept this and move on, it will get better and can be cleaned later. The beginning of my novel coming out has been completely changed. So have heart and keep writing - that's what I'm doing :)

  2. Awesome work with starting--even if rewrites happen and an outline is between you and more pages, you have to start somewhere :)