Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bodacious Beginnings


Once upon a time...
It was a dark and stormy night...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
Call me Ishmail...
Long ago and far away...

Okay, so those are only first phrases... by the way, my current WiP begins:

Lunch had buried us with its usual lack of consideration for my life,

I guess part of this salami is missing
But what I am here to talk about is the WHOLE SALAMI...

I can't believe we are to the 8th of the month and it's my first chance to write about the BEGINNING of a BOOK.

Now let me just clarify here... I am not talking about the beginning that makes it into the final product... I am talking about the WRITING of the beginning... the first draft of the first part... the place you fall in love with your book. The place you build your momentum and drive for the rest of the story...

Man, what a rush. I would be a serial beginner if I could get away with it. It's like you meet a hot stranger for a really wild week in Mexico and explore every nook and cranny... wait... maybe it's only a little like that... drunken, experimental, probing...

Boucher's Back Story found here
When I write beginnings I get to explore BACK STORY which I dig—get at the motivation of the main characters. I get to meet a bunch of new people and probe their brains and motivations and perhaps best of all the interactions between the characters. I get to design my little world while picking out some groovy details from the real place. I get to set a nefarious plan into motion... BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Now with a WriMo, I am forced to get to the main plot, which is a good thing... and I can't START until the 1st, so much of my back story that isn't meant to make the story CAN be written in my back-up file. It makes it SO EASY though, to write when I have all this fun exploration to do.

So because this is so easy, I write fast (I had 4 days last week I hit close to 4000 words). In fact I expect by the end of last night (which is really tonight when I'm writing), I should have hit 20,000 words.... in one week! Gads, that's a pace that means a whole FULL length novel in a month, not just a WriMo length...

But there comes a point when it slows... I reach a point in the action that it just isn't spilling like that anymore... sadly, like a new affair, there comes a time you realize he farts and scratches just like everybody else. Or worse, the point where he sees you are soft in the middle and too fond of rum. Yes... we all have to check into reality at some point.

But I am wondering... is my love affair with beginnings abnormal? I've seen people grumble about having trouble getting going... are there differences between planners and pantsers? What about you? Do you love or dread beginnings? How much planning do you do? How long do you wait between getting an idea and writing? (I'm thinking my stewing time might be why I love beginnings so much)


PS:  HA!  Made it and then some...



Microbrew Mystery
is 43% complete



021652 / 50000 words written

27 comments:

Trisha said...

This is the first line of my current WIP (for BuNoWriMo):

"I hobble the last few steps to my Yaris, soaked in sweat."

;)
and I don't think you're alone in your errrm...'fascination'? without stories begin!

Christine Murray said...

I love beginnings too, because everything is possible. Your beginning is so strong that you think this may just be your best book EVER. Then you get into the knotty problems of pacing and exposition, and self-doubt shows up to ruin the party.

Crystal Pistol said...

Beginnings are wonderful! I AM serial beginning writer. so very fickle. *sigh* Would that I could complete a major project without losing interest. How is THAT done. oh wise one?

Jan Morrison said...

I too like beginnings. But I'm a pantser and isn't that the nature of the beast? Oh right - you are a planner aren't you? So maybe it is just that like a new lover - we have to have it all shiny for awhile - that energy will carry us through the uh...boring bits. I also LOVE endings - transcendent endings - once I find that - like John Irving - then I'm happy.

Old Kitty said...

Always start the beginning, NAKED!

I like that! :-) Take care
x

Teresa aka JW said...

I like beginning lines and paragraphs. I would collect them and put them on a shelf to admire if I could.

T

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I enjoy beginnings, too. It's the ENDINGS I hate! Man, I sweat over those...

Creepy Query Girl said...

When it comes to beginnings, I'm kind of the opposite- almost virginal if you will. lol. I take my sweet time courting my MS, a paragraph here, a sentence there. It can take up to a month for me to get that first chapter where I want it and theeeen the flood gates spill open;)

Hart Johnson said...

Trisha-great line!

Christine- *snort* EXACTLY! Best BOOK EVER!

Crystal-The trick there is to not ALLOW the next beginning until you tie up the last one. I did a lot of that before I committed to the every day thing... If I waited for inspiration, I'd only write beginnings... (even if I sometimes get inspired again at the end)--because no middle on the planet is fun to write!

Jan-yes, I do plan... not microscopically, but i get bogged if I don't. but very much like a new lover! And I love a good ending, too--when things start falling together--MAN, I love that...

Jenny-it's TRUE! naked beginnings are best!

Teresa-too funny. I am actually more likely to really LOVE a last line. I adore hitting those just right. (doesn't always happen, but i love it)

Elizabeth-that's because you write them three times, silly! But seriously, I LIKE the endings, although I almost always come crashing in on it and the rewrite gets a seriously expanded ending. It's the middles that are evil...

Hart Johnson said...

Katie-that's nuts! So interesting! Then again, I've actually written a paragraph here, a character sketch there on THIS one for a year now... other projects were ahead of it in line. I just won't let myself START chapter one until it's time...

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i am not good at beginnings. I used to be, used to LOVE them, but now it takes me 3-4 days and 3-4K to really start to feel the story and the characters. I mean, i guess that's still the beginning, but it's not like PAGE 1 beginning

kimberlyloomis said...

"It's like you meet a hot stranger for a really wild week in Mexico and explore every nook and cranny... wait... maybe it's only a little like that... drunken, experimental, probing..." - You had me snickering out loud on that one! And I haven't really had coffee yet!! [Smelling it doesn't count.]

I totally hear you about beginnings though. The middle is rough for me. Requires so much balancing of all information revealed, that yet to be revealed, and all toward the end which you have your sites set upon. But I like the way you described it better.

Grats on all your progress, Hart!

Liz said...

remember dear Hart...I remain ever at your service for "daily stress level of owning a beer company" insight...complete with arm wrestling amongst staff over beer names, catastrophic glycol leaks causing yours truly to nearly fracture bones (that sh*t is slippery), bottling line disasters and mishaps and trying to run constant exciting and well-attended promotional events statewide while keeping a weather eye on the bottom line.

here's my latest beginning (ahem):

The long day had taken its toll, and Jen swore that the next drunken idiot who stumbled up to their booth mumbling "lagers suck" while holding out a sample cup and staring at her cleavage was going to get brained with a CO2 tank. She blew hair out of her face, kept a hand firmly clenched on the tank's gauge under the table, and pasted on a festival smile as twenty or so idiots proceeded to do just that.

"Cheeky Blonde" a tale of intrigue, competition, murder and passion in the hot land of craft beer. will seek a home soon....if I can tear myself away from the craft beer day job long enough to get through it! keep up your fabulous work Hart.
Don't be a stranger.
ET/Liz/Wench

Liz said...

BTW---The Tap Room, my interactive Choose the Romance novella has a release date! Sept. 30. Can I post here longabout that time and thank you in advance for considering your humble e-published friend (although this one is getting printed on actual paper too)
You Know Who

Hart Johnson said...

Sarah-interesting that it takes you a little dive in time... that IS still beginning... Actually, I sort of look at ALL of it that is still flowing as beginning, but that is probably skewed...

Kimberly-teehee--eager to please! You've nailed WHY on the difficulty of middles... the sprinkling of what needs to fit at a PACE that is manageable and readable...

Liz-I definitely may want to pick your brain on many of those beer making specifics! I have my Brewery Theme (it is the Beer Boutique with all the ales named after famous painters--set in the art gallery heavy part of Portland) And of course you are ALWAYS welcome for a visit!!! (and i will work up the nerve to ask Harry specifically about our interview date at Wolverine soon... I swear!)

Alison said...

I love beginning a new work! That bright shiny blank page is so inviting...

GigglesandGuns said...

Sweet beginnings to take me to the complete ending.

Looks like you're moving at a good pace. Keep it up.

Michael Offutt said...

It sounds like you are off to a great start.

Johanna Garth said...

Umm Hart, is that your lunch or are you jumping on the weiner wagon too?

Me, I hate beginnings-drag my feet, proscrastinate but once I start I like middles and endings.

Cold As Heaven said...

Beginnings are difficult. I have rewritten mine 4 or 5 times already ... and salami is very good on pizza, if you skip the pineapple >:)

Cold As Heaven

Laura said...

my beginnings are bland. I'm a complete panster, so the beginning is always my little wake up call to my brain where I'm just typing to get the juices flowing!
Great Post Hart
Lxxxx

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can I have some of your enthusaism? I'll need to start another story soon...

Helena said...

My beginnings can be tough for me, but once I find "the voice" it's much smoother sailing. Maybe I should try your drunk in Mexico probing technique...

Cheeseboy said...

I dread beginnings more than anything. Once I get going, I am totally in the zone. But it's that beginning that gets me.

lynnrush said...

When you say, "Man, what a rush." I have to agree. I LOVE beginnings. Love staring at the blank page, wondering where things will lead. :)

Enjoy the journey!!

Megan Held said...

I think beginnings are important. I love to begin books. My theory is, if I can begin it and still love it as I write at least 20 more pages then the book can be finished. So, your feelings of loving the beginning of books is not abnormal.

Julie Musil said...

Sometimes I struggle with the beginning, but with my last wip, I had the beginning from day one, and it didn't change. I wish it was like that with every book! Have fun with your wip :D