Spring is just around the corner—March 20, to be exact. Spring has always been the season of new beginnings and fresh starts; you’ll notice I have a new logo on top of the page, and I’m exploring a number of new projects. Thus, for this blog entry, I’m going to talk about beginnings.
The beginning of a story is arguably the most important section. When you flip through a book at a bookstore or on Amazon, or when you sit down in a movie theatre, if the first few pages/moments don’t pull you in, you’re going to get bored and put the book back. As a writer, one of my most important jobs (well, they’re all important—but stick with me) is to create a beginning that pulls you in and makes you want to know more. You need to want to purchase my book, or bring it home from the library, or at least put it on your wish list.
How do I ensure that a reader is curious about my book?
Simple: I write what interests me.
Readers can sense an author’s enthusiasm for his subject. If I splash my way into an exciting story full of naval battles and swordplay, and spice it up with a dash of romance, and I’m excited to be writing it, then the reader is going to pick up on that excitement. He may not want to read more, but he can certainly tell the difference between passion for the subject and someone who’s just trying to experiment with a new genre.
In honor of spring, I’m issuing a challenge: write what you like. Are you into romantic comedies? Write down your perfect meet-cute and go from there. Do you gobble up military science fiction? Decide where your lead character is going to meet his ship and get moving. Do you dream in verse? Try your hand at a limerick—they have an easy rhythm to pick up—and expand from there.
The whole point is to try something new…something new that you already know you will like. Even the fastest, most brilliant writers out there run into trouble when the work process inevitably slows down. You need to edit, you need to rewrite, you need to research…it’s all part of the job, and it can be exhausting. It will be enough to make you wonder why you chose this subject in the first place. If you’re just noodling around with a story you aren’t truly enthusiastic about, it could kill all your forward momentum. If you’re at least into your subject, you’re going to want to push your way through to the end.
Spring is all about beginnings, so write down the first sentence that comes to mind and work from there. You can’t go wrong!