Beginnings: Way More Complicated Than They Should Be


I’m currently flailing around trying to find the beginning of this short story. Beginnings are not a strength of mine, so they rarely start in the right place.

Because I’m not big on planning, I sometimes start stories with little more than a concept or character, which doesn’t help. The more I know about a story, the easier it is to get the opening right. If I’ve found the major beats, I have a better feel for where and when to break into the story. Over time, I’ve become better at this, so there’s less flailing, in general.

But I find short stories harder than novels. Because I’m weird like that.

Stories that begin with a lot of background and exposition won’t hold me unless the voice is highly compelling. But I start a lot of stories that way as I find their unique voices and slowly find my footing.

Most of it will come out in revision, if I don’t cut it entirely. I find a certain freedom in simply allowing myself to flail, since sometimes that is the only way I’ll find my beginning.

So I did that for this story. I don’t know if the current beginning – what I found after flailing – will stay because that will depend on how the story unfolds. For now, it’s not a bad start from which to build the rest.


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