Begin(ner)ing: A Very Good Place to Start


I've done it. I've broken with my own self-assured know-how and submitted to the suggestion of expert writer Jon Franklin. Breaking myself with a chief error beginners make:

“One of the chief errors that a beginning writer is likely to make in the rough-draft stage, and one that consumed horrible gobs of my own artistic youth, is to start at the beginning and write your way through, making every sentence as perfect as you can.”

After initially reading this instruction the first time, I thought, I will keep that in mind. I started my book by developing an outline and then wrote from the beginning. My reasoning: I know how the story is going to end, so I can still just start at the beginning. I liked going through the journey with my characters, being surprised with them, living the action with them, wondering what would happen next, letting the concreteness of the story come as it would. That was how I started, following my self-assured beginners’ thoughts.

It went quite well to start out. Then I found so many threads going that I rewrote my outline, discovering even more intricacies to the story unfolding (keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with rewriting the outline to make your story better). The outline was helping me maintain focus, but I found my mind and story wandering. It was getting a bit dull to write.

Then I re-read Franklin’s advice:

“The story doesn't pivot on the beginning, it pivots on the ending – so write that first.”

I mentioned this advice to my husband one night while plunking away at my story. He immediately said, That makes sense; you should do it.

So, I broke with my own self-assured beginning writer thoughts. I jumped to the climax. I started it this week. I admit: Franklin was right. The focus upon this intense winding up action focuses the purpose of my story and what I want the reader to get out of it. Franklin knows what he is talking about. Beginning at the beginning of the end is a very good place to start.

2 comments:

  1. I recently finished my first novel. I, too, started out at the beginning. But about mid-way, I jumped to the end. I could see the ending so clearly in my mind that I felt like I'd lose something if I didn't go ahead and write it. I think writing the ending early on helped me finish my novel.

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    1. Yes! Thank you for your comment.

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