Monday, January 7, 2008

where to begin

finding the place where a story begins is something of an art. unlike real life, the beginning of a story is never arbitrary, never accidental. it may appear that way, of course, and it probably should - but finding it can take a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of rewriting. a good beginning has spark - it ignites something inside the reader, and propells her or him into the rest of the story.

sometimes i find the beginning buried somewhere in chapter three or four, under paragraphs of throat clearing, character development and far too much telling. but more frequently, i have to back up into it, and provide a framework of reference without which the story can't stand.

that is the place i find myself in now.

my writing goal for today and tomorrow is to work on the beginning third of seventh son. with sarah's prologue done and out of the way, i can move into the revised jack chapters which aren't much more than inputs of edits already complete. the prologue will rest now, until i circle back around to it once im finished the first section.

the challenge for today and tomorrow, however, is to weave three new sarah chapters somewhere into jack's. i don't know where the new sarah chapters should fall - like a sailor heading into only partially charted water, i have only a bare idea of where i think they should fit. i could, perhaps, spend time reading and sorting and thinking.

instead, i've avoided thinking directly about it. i know what the chapters have to be...i have a sense of where they have to fall to make sense in the timeline of the story. and i have sarah, to tell me where - and when - to begin.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

1 comment:

Beth is wfg said...

Yes! This is what I was wondering about the other day! I think I've found my beginning several chapters into the writing!