Many blogs, books, and web articles talk about crafting that perfect line and paragraph to start your story. I envy anyone for whom the task comes easy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed mine trying to improve it. It takes a real talent, much effort, and a lot of practice to craft a flawless opener that will make your reader want to devour the remainder of your story.
Now that you can peek inside many books on Amazon to peruse the starting pages, I find myself doing so for two reasons:
Despite what you might think, a writer never gets it right the first time. A good story takes hours (and days and weeks and months and sometimes years) of editing, rewriting, rereading, reorganizing, and polishing.
The first draft requires that you write something… anything…. Just get words on paper (or screen). Once you start free writing—brainstorming—ideas should flow. Don’t worry about getting them in any particular order. Just keep writing until you run out of ideas.
I often hear people say they only got X number of words today. I’m not moving along as fast as I’d like. Why can’t I write today?
I say, “Screw it.”
If you’re writing the first draft of a story, setting a number of words per day is a perfectly fine goal if it keeps you motivated. But if you’re a few words short at the end of the day, the sky won’t fall and the world won’t end. Think about the words you did write, and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You did something positive toward your goal.
Let’s say your story includes a forest scene? This might be where your character comes to find clues to solve a mystery, to meet a stranger, to meditate on his problems, to find a lost child, or whatever your imagination has conjured up for your story.
Picture a clearing in the forest that you might paint (or photograph).
Nature is a great inspiration to me. My acrylic paintings and doodle art are mostly all nature based — flowers, birds, insects like butterflies and dragonflies, and general landscapes.
Some of my favorite things to do are to walk in the woods listening to the birds, watching the leaves change through out the season, finding interesting mosses or mushrooms, watching waterfalls plunge over rocks or a cliff, or wandering the beach.
Using objects in your writing can imply certain symbolism about a character and the setting and maybe even where the plot is headed.
Today, I’ll talk about acorns. Those tiny souvenirs that drop from the mighty oak tree in the autumn. Oaks are one of my many favorite trees. The trees grow strong and tall and sometimes live for hundreds of years — some say even a thousand.
The acorn is but the seed that potentially grows into another tree. Seeds are a form of hope for the future. As the seed cracks open, it must be watered and nurtured until it becomes stable enough to grow on its own. Hope may be in the form of one day sitting in the shade of a massive tree, collecting nuts for food, feeding the animals, a place for kids to play, or homes for birds.
Some people will say they write only for themselves or their family. That’s great. At the other end of the spectrum, people write because they hope the world want their book. If you’re writing for “the world,” you have to understand that not everyone out there is going to read your book. Before they even open the front cover, they will choose not to read for various reasons. Here are a few:
They don’t care for the genre.
They aren’t in the mood for your premise right now, but may another day or even next year.
Maybe they read one of your other books and didn’t care for your writing style, so they won’t choose your current book either.
The price of the book was too high for their current budget.