I hate beginnings. I really do, I hate them. With a passion. I hate beginning a new novel, or watching the beginning of a new film. I hate the first episodes of brand new TV shows and most of all I hate writing beginnings.
Why do I hate beginnings? It’s simple really, nobody looks forward to the beginning. When you pick up a book the blurb at the back is full of promises – there’ll be an intriguing love triangle, someone disappears, you’re about to be transported to a mysterious new universe – but 90% of the time you have to work your way through two or three chapters of background and character introductions and ‘setting the scene’ before any of the good stuff happens. It’s a nightmare.
As I mentioned, the worst for me is writing a new beginning. I’ve written plenty of stories in my time and I get a new idea for a story roughly every 3-4 hours but annoyingly it’s always the middle chunk of a story that jumps into my head, one where the plot is already set and the characters are fully fleshed out and developed. When I first started writing my current trilogy ‘St Victoria’s’ it took me several attempts to get my opening chapter right – even recently I changed the opening line only to change it back again a week later! Sequels are much easier to open because it’s a continuation of all the set up and hard work you’ve already done previously.
Maybe I’m just impatient. After all there are some great beginnings out there, like Michael Grant’s ‘Gone’ novels which kicks off with a school teacher disappearing right in front of his students’ eyes. Or the TV show ‘The Americans’ (watch, watch, watch) which begins right in the middle of a mission carried out by Russian spys (and accompanied with an amazing soundtrack I might add).
It’s safe to say that this blog post may be the worst one I write (and possibly the only one depending on how much of a slog this turns out to be!) but one thing I can guarantee is things are going to get much, much better…