Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Where to Start?

Writing students, especially beginning memoirists, will often ask me where they should start writing: The beginning, middle or end?

I always suggest starting with what interests you the most. After all, if you're excited about a scene, moment or description, your reader will be, too. You can build the rest of the piece or manuscript around these beginning moments (or not, if they don't work out.) Sure, you will likely return to these first lines and have to make small and large edits and revisions, but start there.

Once you have a sense of what you want to write, you can write an outline and use it to help organize your materials. But in the beginning, use your excitement to your advantage. After all, if you're bored as your writing, the reader will be bored. Or, as Robert Frost wrote, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

You don't need filler or background information to bring your reader up to date. Work to integrate the key pieces of information in your sentences, paragraphs and chapters. Dive right in and trust the reader to follow along with you.

How have you successfully started a new writing project? 

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