Starting That Story

The simple fact of the matter is, writing is hard. And no part of writing is quite so difficult as starting.

Never mind the sheer amount of dedication it takes to voluntarily start a new writing project. The art of finding that perfect jumping off point is one of precision, where all it takes to ruin the experience is one wayward sentence.

The first chapter of a story (or the first page of a short story, alternatively,) has a lot of jobs to do. It has to introduce the main characters, build the setting the story will be in, and start the ball rolling for the conflicts to come. All of this, while striking a careful balance between exposition and action.I’m sure everyone has heaved the sigh that can only happen when reading an entire chapter dedicated to mapping out the complex eccentricities of the world the story will be happening in, instead of, you know, telling the story.

With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that so many never get around to writing that big project. Of course, because of this, there are many articles and even websites dedicated to helping the writer get their project off the ground. One such example is over on writers digest, and even comes from a published author. It details the troubles she had starting one of her stories, and comes with pointers on how to nail that first chapter. After all,

There’s something magical about a book’s first sentence. As writers, we get to control that magic by creating a line we hope is memorable and catchy to hook readers enough to keep reading.

It’s a helpful little blurb, doubly so since it comes from the point of view of someone that has already been published. These problems aren’t only for the beginner; the story they talk about in the article was actually her fourth. So, don’t get discouraged, and just write. Any mistakes made now can be fixed later, and you lose more by doing nothing.

You can read the full article here