If you know much about writing, chances are you know that the beginning is one of the most important parts. Every part’s important in a story, but the beginning is how you hook people in.
I’m not great at beginnings, and I’m not afraid to admit it. But I do know what I like as a reader, as a movie goer, and as a television…show…watcher? Let’s go with someone who takes in far too much of that stuff than is likely healthy. But I’m not sitting there mindlessly absorbing what Hollywood puts in front of me. Never watch a show or a movie with me unless you want constant guesses about the plot and what’s going to happen next. I blame my film and screenwriting major for that one.
The best beginnings grab you and refuse to let go. If you dare change the channel or put the book (or screenplay) down or walk out of the theatre or pause the DVD, they stay with you until you have no choice but to go back to that story in whatever format it happens to be in and let it do what it’s supposed to do: draw you in.
It’s the same with art. There has to be something compelling about the piece that makes you unable to tear your eyes away from it. It’s impossible to grab everyone, because people all have different tastes. We all know that. It’s what makes living life interesting. But it has to grab someone. That’s the important part.
I don’t have a very interesting beginning to share. I’ve kept a blog since 2001, but it was about the life of a high schooler, and later a college student, who spent most of her free time writing. I still keep it, but it’s tucked far away, and it isn’t the least bit interesting unless you love animals, word count updates, and various ramblings about stories I’m working on and rarely name. I’m trying to make this one different, because right now this is a beginning for me, or at least for my writing career. Just like we try to make the beginnings of our stories interesting, I’m going to try to not bore you all to death in this one.
So here it is. I’m 23. I’ll be 24 in January 2010 – it’ll be my golden birthday, which I’m kind of strangely excited about (turning 24 on the 24th, for those who’ve never heard the term). I’ve been writing stories since I was eleven, starting out with fan fiction and going for original work when I was fifteen. Almost thirteen years of writing.
Now, when I say writing, I don’t mean writing a few paragraphs a week. I mean writing thousands upon thousands of words week after week, sometimes day after day. I’m young, but I’ve devoted over half my life to figuring out how to write a story people want to read. I’m not entirely sure I’ve figured it out yet – sales will do that for me – but here’s to hoping. I also read everything I could get my hands on; the good, the bad, and the rip-my-hair-out-and-claw-out-my-eyes ugly. Problem is, that’s turned me into a picky reader and made me acutely aware of just how important beginnings are, which is why I want to hit the delete button on this post before it’s published. But I won’t, because every beginning has to start somehow.
So here’s mine, in a way. Let’s hope it doesn’t suck.