Friday, September 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time...Wait, Where Are We Going With This?

So there's this princess. And she's a little bit of a brat, but mostly because she's unusual and has been shunned her whole life. The servants in her palace think she's strange and whisper about her behind their hands, even when she's around. Her parents were afraid of her, and foisted her off on nurses and maids, showering her with gifts to keep her happy. Then they died, and her uncle was charged with guiding her until she was old enough to rule in her own right. He's nice and all, but doesn't really try to understand her.

This is Orla, the character who's been nagging me to write for days. So yesterday, I sat down to write (and got 200 words!), and what did she do? Clammed up and refused to talk. Did I mention she's kind of a brat?

I'm trying to figure out what moment I should start her story with. I've already written Faron's opening scene, and Orla's is supposed to be next, but I'm thinking I might need to skip over her. I've been mulling it over for days and haven't really thought of anything that works for her personality. Maybe if I move on to another character, she'll get annoyed and I'll finally get something I like.

What about you? How do you figure out beginnings (which, for me, are the hardest part)?


PS In other news, I'm 22 followers away from hitting 100! Seriously, tell ALL your friends, because once I hit 100 there will be a giveaway. And it will involve a book. Or two. :)


  1. Beginnings are the WORST. I'm trying to nail mine down, too. Blurrgh.
    Good luck with Orla. She sounds like a handful. :)
    (A really interesting handful--can't wait to see her come to life)

  2. Well you might begin by asking some questions about Orla. 1) Why is she shunned? 2) Why do the servants whisper? Is there punishment for being overheard. If so...what is the punishment? 3) People think she's strange. Is there any truth to this? 4) Why are her parents afraid of her? 5) What are the circumstances behind the parents deaths? How did they really die? 6) What's up with her uncle?

    After you have answered all of those questions, you may be able to begin writing the story of Orla. You have to know your character really well in my opinion before a clear image of where to start reveals itself to you.

  3. @Julie right?! I hate beginnings so much...probably because I put too much pressure on them to be perfect.

    @Michael: I know her, I just don't know how to introduce her while conveying the important parts. I'm hoping I'll get it this weekend.

  4. I LOVE beginnings. They're so much easier in my part than endings when you have to wrap everything up in a satisfying but non-predictable way. As for me, I usually do what Michael said - ask a bunch of questions and let it bounce around my brain. Then I free write until something clicks and it starts going somewhere. Usually leads to a lot of cutting useless stuff later, but I always find my character's voice and beginning that way.

  5. The beginning is ALWAYS the hardest. And then, when I think I have it perfect, I realize it's not! And then my crit partners agree. I've rewritten my first chapter in my current WIP several times. It gets closer every time, but it needs a few more tweaks. Good luck!

    Gotta love the stubborn character's too :)

    And yay for you! Almost to 100. That's awesome!

  6. For what it's worth, my advice is this: start writing wherever you want and know that you can always start earlier or later when you revise. ^_^

  7. I am a true fan of the outrageous opening sentence.

    "Once your arm falls off, it’s not hard to figure out that things are going to go way downhill."

    "Elry Siggond’s death sentence came in the form of a carriage, and a man who smelled like a crowded flower garden."

    Things that make the reader think twice, lol. I guess I tend to bring them in just when the opening scene gets interesting, and then fill in the context in the following paragraphs. At least with short stories, I actually tend to start out with these little one-liners, and then frame the story around them with no idea in the beginning what they're going to be about. XD

    I guess, long story short... I tend to start wherever my crazy brain takes me, and then follow it into some semblance of sense. XD

  8. Beginnings are so hard. I have found if I write and write and write I will get to the beginning eventually.

  9. I spent a long time trying to get beginning write. Eventually I realised that it was okay to have a really flat beginning, full of backstory. The real one will come to me later.

  10. J, what I do is start writing, even if it's a crappy beginning. Then I go back and edit. It might not be the easiest way, but rewriting makes miracles happen rather than racking your brain for a good start. :)

  11. Hi there, it's nice to meet you.

    One tactic that might work is to try writing a bunch of different scenes as 'discovery.' This takes the pressure off, because none of them have to be the opening scene or even make it into the story, they're just a way for you to find out more about Orla. You can look for some silly writing prompts and see if any of them inspire her.

    I'm in your fantasy Campaigner group, so see you down the campaign trail!


Now that you took the time to read my message, let's see what you have to say! Unless it's mean...then you can just keep it to yourself. :)