The beginning is the first thing a reader sees, and if it doesn’t catch their interest they may stop and never finish the book. This is a lot of pressure for a writer, and one reason why many writers never get around to writing an entire book. They don’t know how to start. I’m a firm believer that the beginning should be the last thing you write.
In school I learned about thesis statements. A single, short sentence that tells everything your essay is about. I quickly learned I sucked at writing thesis statements. For one thing, when teacher’s say short they are lying. It may be one sentence, but it will be a long sentence that may take up half a page. Once I realized this, writing them got much easier. It wasn’t until about my third year of college that I really figured out how to write them though. My introductions kept coming back with notes saying too weak or too vague, while my conclusions were circled with notes saying things like, “This should be your thesis statement!” After about five essays in a row with this, I realized my problem. I usually don’t know what I’m writing about until I’m done. After that, I stopped writing my introductions first, and started saving them until last. (Which made it a little awkward looking on Essay tests where they make you write in booklets, but my teachers were understanding).
Then I discovered this technique works well for fiction too. I usually have no idea which direction my stories are headed until I’m almost done with them. The solution? Start in the middle, or even the end. I start with whichever scene is most visible in my head. This saves me the time of having to go back and rewrite the beginning every time my story takes a different direction.
The downside to this is that it makes writing an introduction to my blog a little difficult. I can’t write a thesis statement because I’m just starting and don’t know where I’m headed yet. For the same reason I can’t write an epic first chapter that foreshadows great things to come. But then, this isn’t a thesis or a novel. This is a blog. What constitutes a good first post? I have no idea. Hopefully, this one will do.
If you were hoping for something a little more informative about myself or this blog, check out my Who and What & Why pages in the top right. 🙂