Once upon a time.
In the beginning.
There was a man/woman/dog.
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.
Did you hear the one...
Beginnings need to pull you in right from the start. Think of them like chat up lines but less sucky than, ‘do you come here often.’
Authors have told me of the stress caused by those first few words/lines. For some it becomes so crippling they gaze at the screen or sheet of paper and lament on the condition un-lovingly referred to as ‘writer’s block’.
Well, I have a secret for you. You do not need to get it right or correct first time. In fact, and here’s the biggie, you do not even have to write the beginning at the beginning.
There I’ve said it. My name is Barbara and I write out of order.
They tend to write themselves when the muse is in residence.
Here are a few beginnings:
Misery Stephen King
yerrrrnnn umber whunnnn
These sounds: even in the haze
A couple from Dr Suess
The Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The Cat in the Hat
the sun did not shine.
it was too wet to play.
so we sat in the house
all that cold, cold, wet day.
A couple from me:
Past Life Tourism
Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Once upon a time there was a little girl called Barbara. She lived in an ivory tower singing like an angel while the birds and little animals came in the house to talk to her. Life was blissful and – insert screeching skid noise – oh no, that wasn’t me! Of course that was Snow White and actually my life was, is, more Alice in Wonderland. Plus, I can’t sing.
The Psychic Way
I'm in a saloon. There are cowboys sitting about drinking and playing cards. It is noisy and the warm air smells of beer, horses and sweat. There is a mirror across the wall, behind the shot bottles, and spittoons are in the corners. To the right of the bar is a wooden staircase leading up to the bedrooms. No secrets here.
I am thinking of the word 'doxy' although I'm not sure what that means (I do now!).
As my story unfolds it becomes clear that I am a working girl and these men are my customers.
A good way to tune in to your creativity is to write possible beginnings without necessarily having anything else in mind.
If looks could kill he’d be dead several times over. I wish.
Fail. What do you mean, fail?
As the ferry docked Jayne screwed up eyes through the glaring sun at the people waiting to greet the arrivals. Her thumping heart deafened her thoughts.
How will you start yours?