Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!

So, while we're all singing along with The Sound of Music tune up above, let us think about where we start our stories.
There have been over 1000 New Voices entries.  Some of the starting points have been good, some have been unusual, some have been mediocre.  Lots of the comments have been around telling people they haven't started their story in the right place.

Do you find it very easy to start?  Do the words just flow easily along?
Or do you have a few hit and misses before you can really get started?

I've done both of these things.

In my first book It Started With a Pregnancy, I wrote the beginning three times.  First attempt had Missy in the shower thinking about what she'd done the night before.  But it was too much tell and not enough show.  Second attempt had her walking into the ward and meeting her one night stand.  But again, too much thinking back to the events beforehand.

But neither of these versions 'felt' right.

Attempt three started in the bar, where they met, left together and did some horizontal dancing.  And the words just flowed from there.

Book number two, The Boy Who Made Them Love Again, started with Abby Tyler having a lazy day in the ER, seconds later her ex Luke Storm shows up with the First Lady in labour in the back of the secret service limousine!  This time the starting point felt right.  There was panic, shock and a very important patient to treat.  Not to mention, Luke finding out Abby has a young son.

Book number three, West Wing to Maternity Wing, starts with Lincoln Adams looking after the President's premature baby.  Seconds later he gets a call to say his heavily pregnant wife has collapsed at the police cordon outside the hospital.  Only problem is - Lincoln Adams doesn't have a wife.  

And Book four starts with John Carter receiving a letter.  He is expecting it to tell him the embryos that him and his wife created for their now defunct marriage have been destroyed.  Instead the letter tells him that one of those embryos has been wrongly implanted, and someone else is now carrying his child.

And Book five?  Right now, I have no idea where it will start.  All I do know is - I always need to start in the right place.  Otherwise things don't flow and the story doesn't progress.

So what about you?  Do you have problems starting in the right place?  Or, does it all just flow easily?  Or, have you ever read a book that you felt didn't start in the right place?

PS  I'm going to the Mills and Boon Author Lunch in London on Friday and can't wait!  Will tell you all about it next week.  Also hoping a friend of mine will share some good news!


  1. Book 5! Already? Wow - go Scarlet - go.
    I always seem to start in the wrong place(((sigh)). Too much telling not enough showing. I'm always falling into the trap of writing a Prologue too. Some people love them, some people hate them. ;o) Caroline x

  2. I too have to start in the right place otherwise nothing works. I used to find beginnings really easy actually but not these days. I think I've written my chess ms beginning at least five times so far!! :-)

  3. I'll echo Caroline's wow to five books already! I've had both types of beginnings too :-( I prefer the easy start.

    PS Take me with you to the lunch! I promise I won't squeal at every author I see ;-)

  4. My confirmation word was "lisucko" I'm not quite sure what to make of that... Do you think blogger is trying to tell me something?

  5. Caroline - you didn't start in the wrong place with this years NV entry. I thought it was great! Tried to email you back after you'd emailed me via website, but it kept pinging back. who knows what I've done wrong this time!

  6. Jackie- five times?? Okay, you win the prize for the most false starts.
    Somehow you just "know" it's not right, don't you? I hate it when that happens.
    I bet you the chessman is fab by now!

  7. Lacey, I will squeal at everyone I see too!

    Only thing is - I'm feeling distinctly seedy today. My littlest had a bug a few days ago and might have passed it on...
    Doesn't matter. I'm going to the lunch even if I have to be sick in a plastic bag!

    And blogger always gives me dodgy words. I think it secretly hates me!

  8. I always try to start in the middle of the action, but it's really hard to get it right isn't it? I find that I go back over the first scene a zillion times to make it as sparky as I can. I try and start with dialogue where I can, you know, get things going straight away.

    Authors lunch, eh? Oooh la la! You must take pics, okay? Have a fab time x

  9. Thanks Joanne. SQUEAL! Just seen your blog, off to the Authonomy site to read your chapters!