beginning a story

by Aurielle
(Cape Town, South Africa)

Hi I would like to write a romance short story but i really don't know how to start. I have so many ideas and I have the ending already. Each time I start with the story, I end up scratching everything out because nothing satisfies me. What should I do?

Answer: If you feel strongly about the core idea behind this story, then there's nothing wrong with what you are doing. Keep writing down the ideas. Keep starting. Eventually you will find your path.

Of course, it might help if you took some time to create a good outline. Whether it's a paragraph or ten pages, an outline lets you see if the story hangs together before you spend too much time going in the wrong direction.

This site offers a lot of help on story structure and writing outlines, but you might start on this page...

Meanwhile, think of your early attempts as like the "searching lines" visual artists sometimes use. An artist will sometimes do a lot of faint lines while searching for the right shape. Once he's found it, he will do the shape in darker lines. Sometimes writers have to do some "searching prose" as well.

Best of luck.

Comments for beginning a story

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Jun 09, 2014
re: Beginning A Story
by: Todd Rogers

It is often said that starting a story is more difficult than ending it because there are any number of ways to start the ball rolling.

This is the best advice that I can give:

It doesn't really matter HOW the story starts, it only matters how you will introduce your first character or the first plot throughline of the story.

So, depending on the target audience of your romance story, best way to start the story would be perhaps think about what those characters at their ages would normally be doing on any given day whereby the story you were writing would ultimately then take place!

If it's a young adult story maybe the story starts in a school cafeteria, or a coffeehouse, or maybe even church or at an event where the kids are dragged by their parents somewhere they don't want to be which causes to people who otherwise would not have met to lay eyes upon each other for the first time.

Glenn is ultimately the guru here on this site and his advice is gold to you.

If it's an adult story (for audiences over the age of 18), then maybe the meeting happens at a bar, a concert, a bachelor or bachelorette party, in a cab on the way home from said places or events, or may be the main character is walking down the street going home.

Outline your story chapter by chapter using index cards with multiple colors like rainbow colored.

Identify how long you want your book to be, and then use one color index card and write down four events or elements that need to be resolved either by the end of that chapter or by the end of the story and plan out, using another color index card, four points that will further the event along.

After you have repeated this process four times, you should have an outline for the introduction of all of your characters in which every order you want them to take place, and incident or an event or a happening which brings your disparate elements together and that should get you on the path to getting your story off the ground; and from there your story can grow organically into what it will ultimately become.

I hope I didn't confuse you completely but if I did I will try to help you further if I can.

Good luck to you!

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