Friday, January 29, 2010

the spark

The spark... that one brilliant idea that pops into your head at any moment, the one where you have to find a notebook, a cell phone, or a napkin to write it down. As writers we all have it, it comes and goes throughout the day, at all moments we are thinking about the piece we are working on, or a book we are reading, we live for words, those we write, and those we read. It is part of us.

The problem is, sometimes the idea falls a little short. I have great ideas, the problem is none of them can start a story. They are all in the middle of the book, or at the climax, I never seem to quite start at that beginning, think of that perfect line. How the character and the reader first meet, I am longing to have that connection, and yet at the moment I haven't been able to find the answer, the piece I am looking for to really start the journey off.

I have found that the more and more an idea pops into my head it is never a start to the beginning, do you find the same to be true? Does the beginning of the story come rather easily to you, or do you ignore not having a beginning and write what you know? Any books or exercises that seemed to help?! Any knowledge is welcome!

18 comments:

Zoe said...

Oh, those fantastic ideas that just refuse to take off, they are the bane of my existence.

I tend to find just writing helps; with a beginning or without. It won't necessarily go anywhere but there is always the possibility that it could, and that place could be amazing! And even if it doesn’t get going the first time round you always have something to go back to.

Julie said...

I think ideas like that, sparks, give you a glimpse in the direction you want to go with a story. So no, it wouldn't start you at the beginning, but give you some turn in the story. It's up to you as a writer to figure out how to tie together all the great sparks you've had.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I get sparks all the time and I love it, but it takes a lot of work to make one into a story. And beginnings are the hardest for me. I tend to obsess over the beginning, which only makes it worse. They are just so important, though. Maybe I'm just weird. LOL.

Hope you have a happy Friday!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I think everybody said it well here. The spark is the spark. Everything else is a whole lot of time. And eventually you will find it all over your manuscript. Critique partners help too.

Jen said...

Thanks everyone!!! I had a spark yesterday at the coffee shop! I couldn't write enough down! I am glad to know that the spark doesn't have a place, it's just an idea you work on!

Kimberly I am with you!! I think I focus too much on the beginning since it is a very important part, if the reader isn't engaged then there is no need for an ending!!!

Happy Friday to everyone!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I feel this pain. Nothing I think of is at the beginning. So you know what? I don't start at the beginning. I simply write the scenes that exist in my head. I can piece them together later. Much later.

Cindy said...

I definitely know what you mean. I never think of a story from the beginning. But, since I'm a big planner and I have to plan my story and write my story chronologically, it's sort of necessary to have the beginning. I've been working hard lately on making really great beginnings that capture the reader and hook them to read on. That means giving the mc some very interesting idiosyncrasies and dropping them right in the middle of a dilemma, some action or even a humorous situation.

Mariah Irvin said...

You're preaching to the choir!

My stories never start at the beginning. The spark always takes me to somewhere in the middle, where all the action happens.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, my gosh, beginnings are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard. I like James Scott Bell's "The Art of War for Writers". It's given me ideas on what to consider when starting your book.

Rebecca Nazar said...

Hmmm tough question. Well, first off, I write short stories not novels at this point. I guess what I've learned is there is no magic bullet. Each piece is going to evolve in its own way. Some sparks ignite the beginning, some the end.

The only thing I tell myself each time I sit down to write is "Bec, be the writer you are, not the writer you want to be, and then relax, relax and relax some more"

Thanks for stopping by my blog. : ) Cheers!

lakeviewer said...

Take what comes and write it down. Even if only one line. Keep these lines on cards or in a notebook.

One day, one of these will trigger an avalanche of words.

Carolyn V. said...

Hey Jen! I found your blog too!

My ideas always start at the beginning and I am always left trying to figure out the middle. *sigh* But I have a lot of great first chapters. =)

missivysparkle said...

That happens to me all the time... I have like an idea for a storyline, characters, and what I want it to turn out like! But I for some reason cant ever get it down on paper to sound like it does in my head!

*Uhg* So annoying!

Katie Ganshert said...

My advice would be to just write it, from wherever you picture it. Write it until you finish, then see if you can go back and write the beginning. Nobody said a person has to write a book in order.

Hope that helps!

Jen said...

I can't blog enough about how wonderful you all are!!! How helpful you continue to be!!! I appreciate all the thoughts, and I posted this morning I have been able to start a really good part of my story... in the middle... and I'm okay with that!

Melissa said...

I know exactly what you mean, but I'm a sequential writer. I have to know the beginning before I can write. For my WIP, I had an overall premise, so I spent some time coming up with reasons why they were in the situation they are in (hope that makes sense). Once I know all of the whys, I came up with the characters. From there, it was pretty easy to find a starting point for my story.

Sara Louise said...

I never leave home without a notebook and a pen. God forbid a moment of brilliance strikes (they rarely do).
Beginnings and middles are no problem for me, it's the endings I can't get. I suppose write what you can, and the beginning will come.
Good luck!

Journaling Woman said...

I've been told, "Write it down. Keep it. Write it down." So I keep a notebook of my sparks.