23 November

First Page, First Line - Just Tell the Story...

Deep in the forest... tents are pitched around a crackling bonfire. Those who you love and trust are sitting on logs, eyes sparking, as they anticipate your story.

You lean forward, with eager eyes, and say one word.

Then, you say, "No, scratch that." And then you utter a whole sentence.

Then, you say, "No, I didn't mean that. I meant this."

And through your umpteen restarts, everyone has yawned, stretched, shook their heads in disgust, and gone to their tents.

Story time by YOU ended before it ever began.

Would you tell a campfire story that way? Nope. You wouldn't. You would just start to talk and keep talking until the story ended.

So, why should you start any story in that confounded way? There's no reason at all.


You've obviously seen your story unfold in your mind's eye. Simply tell it. Hit the keyboard. Imagine those loved one's sitting around you, and type out your story. No fitful starts. To take backs. Just begin typing what you see, and worry much, much later how it looks.

Too many new writers obsess about articles that push the need for that perfect first line, that perfect first page, and that anything less will make you a literary failure, to the point you freeze your mind and become incapable of telling that story at all.

Do you seriously think sculptors re-affix their chiselled-off pieces?

Do you think painters paint that first brush stroke, then, ad nauseam, keep wiping it off?

At some point, you have to trust your brain, your own imagination, and your ability to tell a story.

What you should wipe from your brain, if anything at all, are those so-called article experts giving you mental fits about creating that perfect beginning.

Art is messy. It's undefined. It has to be attempted, roughed out, before it can ever be refined.

Heck, come that last page where you type, The End, your outlook on the beginning of your tale maybe vastly altered from what you foresaw months, years ago, so why obsess at the beginning when your literary journey has only begun?

Don't. Just don't. STOP obsessing. Seriously.

Write what your mind's eye sees. Get it down on the page. Write one scene, then the next, and keep writing until you type, The End.

Your goal right now is to be able TO write, and finish that book. Don't let others mess with your vision, your creativity or your confidence by what they "think" you need to do.


a) If you're just starting out to write your book, write that first line, that first page, without thinking. Tell that campfire story. 

b)If you're past the first page, STOP returning to it and changing it. Write on. That so-called perfection can come after you've written, The End. (Spoiler Alert: Mr. Perfection will never show up. That sucker is always a no-show. Don't put out your fine china for that idiot. He's not worth it.)

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