Writing Tips for Beginners: #1. In The Beginning: Writing Your First Story

Whenever I tell people I’m a writer there’s always at least one person who says they wish they could write. But they don’t know where to start. My response is always the same.

Start with the first sentence.

Whatever the first thing is that comes to mind when you think about or talk about your project, that first image, that first word, that’s where you start.

No, it doesn’t have to be the most brilliant thing ever written. No, you don’t have to keep it forever. As your story develops, you may decide that the first thing you wrote no longer fits. That’s okay. You can delete all or part of it.

It’s important to note, this is your project and you can do whatever you want with it. The only person grading it is you. The most important thing is that you get the project started.

Even if you don’t start the actual project, write ideas down. Don’t just talk about them. It’s important that you get in the habit of writing down everything. It’s like working out, training, before a marathon.

Some people worry that the only thing they seem to think about is the middle or the end of the story. That’s okay. Your first chapter is where you’ll hook or lose most readers. Starting where the action or important plot point takes place is the perfect way to keep your reader interested. The reader continues the story and watches as the events that took place before and after unfold.

Quite possibly the ultimate show of beginning at the end is the film, “Memento.” If you’ve not seen it, you are doing yourself disservice. The main character has short-term memory loss. The whole film moves backwards and we watch as events are explained in reverse.

So, where to start? With the first sentence that comes to mind. Continue on until you’ve written out your entire image, people, places, everything. Before you know it, you will have comp0leted your first chapter.

Welcome to the beginning of your story.

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