Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Okay, I'm cheating today. Go here to Nicola Morgan's blog. She has a great, great, fantastic post about beginnings, and offers some good advice as well. Go on already, click!!

Okay, just in case you were too lazy to click, I'll give you a brief snippet . . .

Why are we wrong to angst about starting points for novels?

•because you can change it later - just get started and see what happens. Changing the beginning later is one of the easiest aspects of a revision, but you need to get the beginning down now, even if you end up moving it.
•because the hard and fast rules are not very hard or fast. The essential one is: do what works for THIS book.
•because starting points are about to be a lot easier to think about, as I'm about to give you some guidelines. Hooray! And then some options and examples. Even more hoorayish.

Okay, that's all the preview I'm giving you. She provides tons, tons of examples from her own books about various beginnings, and some thoughtful advice as well.

What did I gain most from her post?? Well, in her words because you can change it later! She's right. No matter what beginning I start with - a fall down the stairs, a scream in the night, an empty kitchen and a boiling pot of water, a pitcher of margaritas - I can always change it later.

It's kind of scary how she can read my mind. I mean, how does she know that I endlessly change my beginnings during the writing process? How? How? Oh, because she's a writer (like us all) and been there, done that, and has multiple t-shirts.

So, go on, click on over and have a good read!



Marybeth Poppins said...

I never changed my beginnings....(more than at least 100 times)

Jm Diaz said...

That was great post of hers.. thanks for sharing. And yeah, I change my beginnings way to much... Until it feels right, right?

Elana Johnson said...

Such excellent points. You can change it later! This is something I have to remind myself about in the middle...and the end...

Scott said...

Marybeth - me too!!

Jm - you're welcome. I'm right there with you, and Nicola. As much as we absolutely love, love, love our first beginnings . . . there's always room for improvement.

Elana - yeah, she pretty much hits the proverbial nail on the head! I often wonder though - okay, not often, just right now - whether if the whole "I can change it later" philosophy doesn't lend itself to lazy writing. Huh??

Jemi Fraser said...

That was my favourite part of Nicola's post too :) Nothing is etched in stone - yay!

Scott said...

Jemi - yay! back at ya! I think many writers fall into the trap that 'once it's written, it's done'. I was in love with the opening paragraph for the project I'm getting ready to query. In. Love. With. It. You know what? That paragraph has totally disappeared from the manuscript. I still love it, but it just wasn't working. So - delete! Okay, delete and paste in to a new document, but it is no longer the opening.

Robyn Campbell said...

I read this post and thought to myself, "how many times have I changed the beginning of SEVENTY TWO HOURS" (from the writer over at Putting Pen To Paper). :-)

I'd say I changed that sucker at least 30 times way before I even finished the first draft. It worried me. So I would waste time working on it. PSHAW!

I finally got it where I wanted it. But that is the most important part of the story, to me at least.

Change it later. Hmmmm, cool concept. I'll have to remember that. My new WIP, I've already changed the beginning 6 times and I've only written 5 chapters.

I guess I need to hop over there, huh?