Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tips from Tops Thursday - is your beginning sound?

Tip -
The best pulp-fiction writers hone beginnings and endings to their sharpest edge. Surprise and wit, among other things, are in their aresenal.  ....Many writers do not find the first sentence to their book until they edit, because only then, on reading their draft, do they discover that the beginning is hiding on page 3 or 4.  We need to think harder about not just the first words of a book or story, but of a chapter, section, or even paragraph that we are writing. Beginnings occur all through our work, again and again. To edit is, in part, to check if each beginning is sound, or if you've allowed in throwaways.
Top -  Susan Bell in The Artful Edit

What it Means to Me:
I am struck by this advice from Bell - especially the part reminding the reader that beginnings occur all through our work. I think I will go back and make sure I've paid attention to that. I usually (in the three books I've revised) begun much further in than my original manuscript. I try and remember that the first couple of drafts, I'm telling myself the story. Paring down the fluff at the beginning of each section is a good idea - perhaps it is like when we first turn on the engine to our old beater car - it needs to clear its throat first and so do we - but we don't need to leave it on the page.
Hope this is helpful - just go through and check all your beginnings! I'm going to. Tell me how it goes.

4 comments:

Liza said...

Oh yes this helps. My beginning, as I see it now, is really on page 25, or perhaps page 31. Now I have to do the hard work of moving it up to page 1.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Very helpful! I never thought about a book having a lot of different beginnings!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Every chapter should be a new beginning, so it makes sense there are even more in every book.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I lost count how many times I rewrote the beginning of my first manuscript. Since I'm only just inching toward beginning #2, I'm still playing with where to begin. I think I know. Probably wrong. But, maybe right! Sigh. Who knows?