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Where to start, and how to carry on?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Shire, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Shire

    Shire New Member

    I've had some major trouble over the years starting on my novel. Not so much writers block, more the fact of having trouble seperating certain chapters or books. I have my characters, their history, their drives, the settings are a little off, the fact is I've got so many possibilities I do not know where to begin. (Yes I know from the beginning would be the obvious answer.) I've also come across various possibilities for sequels, with the problem being I haven't even gotten the first book yet. Any Ideas on where or how I should start. If you need more info on what I have just ask.
  2. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

    There are two schools of thought on this. Use whichever works best for you.
    1. Start right at the "inciting incident," the point where the main character (MC) decides or is forced to take up the challenge you're presenting him (or her).
    2. Start with background on the MC, and put the inciting incident a few chapters later in the book.
    #1 has the advantage of launching the reader straight into the story. #2 has the advantage of letting the reader get to know the MC first.

    Both have been used with great success by Big Name Authors. Jim Butcher used #1 in the first book of the Dresden Files, with Dresden getting the phone call in chapter 1. David Eddings used #2 in the first book of the Belgariad, with the inciting incident not happening till chapter 5.
  3. Malik

    Malik Auror

    I write the end first, and then work backwards on paper. When I hit something interesting, that's where I start.
    Babayaga321 likes this.
  4. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    Start with a timeline, then write the ending, then write a possible beginning. (I say possible because you'll probably find a need to start earlier or later when you've built up around 30,000 words). Write the key twists and plot points next, then fill in the gaps. You don't have to start at the beginning, you also don't have to write it any particular order, in fact I find it helps not to write chronologically. You'll be jumping back and fore anyway to add developing story threads and you will change things that may have a ripple effect throughout your story so far.

    You may need to think about setting up some sort of system before you start. To keep track of notes and ideas. One you can juggle around around as the story develops.

    There are a few threads on ways of keeping track



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  5. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    If you have trouble starting, I'd suggest a good place is the Ordinary World.

    I'd suggest the answer lies in arc.

    Now that's a complex topic. But if you pick one arc and follow it through, that'll begin establishing your scaffolding.
  6. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

    Oh, I forgot to answer "how to continue."

    The simplest way is to ask yourself, "what would my MC do in this situation" and then go from there. Usually the answer will lead to another situation; if it doesn't, you can introduce another situation based on what your overall story is. If they're traveling, maybe they're attacked by bandits.
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  7. Addison

    Addison Auror

    A lot of times my story idea will give me a piece in the middle. I'll have no indication to the beginning, the end is fuzzy, but that part of the middle is clear and I start there. I work backward and forwards from that point. Some times I'll get the beginning and I'll be able to work from there, other times, not so much. Often times if I start with a beginning I spend more time revising that than any other part of the story. Like my story right now. :p
  8. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    It sounds like you have the characters and the setting and a few ideas for scenes, but you don't really have the story that you want o tell figured out and that's giving you the trouble with figuring out where to start.

    Maybe try to focus in on what the main conflict or storyline will be. Possibly the resolution (or a possible resolution). Then, the beginning might be easier to determine.

    There are some folks who are discovery writers, so to speak. If you're one of them, you'll just have to pick a place to start and see what happens. A story will emerge. I don't find that efficient for me, but there isn't a single right way to write a novel.
  9. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    My rule of thumb is, once I work out what the MC's goal is: what different options does he have for doing it? That lets the whole world line up in terms of what's more and more difficult (and unnatural, for this character's nature), and his exploring them from simplest to Worst Case is the basic buildup of the story. --That and how villains and circumstances change things and block options as they go. "Two days down one road to find the bridge is out, and now the enemy's blocked the other road..."

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