You waste valuable writing time beating yourself up about not producing anything special, so eventually you produce nothing at all. It might take many years and lots of writing before you know what you enjoy writing the most.Start in the Middle If you don’t know where to start, don’t bother deciding right now.
Besides, screen culture does violence better than written culture, so leave the big violence to the movies.We’ve all watched a lifetime’s worth of TV and movies that put big and often violent events into the first five minutes as a hook.The assumption is that we have the attention spans of chimpanzees.Early on, I made the mistake of trying to answer questions about a character’s motivation or critical elements of the plot, knowing those were essential, and thinking the earlier they were out, the more the reader would appreciate it. In the first couple of paragraphs, the reader isn’t asking questions about the characters or plot.He or she’s asking one simple thing: And that’s what I try to answer in the first two paragraphs. Commit to a Title Up Front The title you give a story—whether it ends up being your final title or just a placeholder— is your North Star. By following what’s important to you, you may just end up with something that will be important to other people.Most of the time we don’t get to choose our own names, but we always choose the names of our stories for a reason. Create a Synopsis When I first started writing, I always wrote a synopsis.It allowed me to work out story problems and emotional beats early, and served as a road map.If you have a placeholder that doesn’t feel right, you have to ask yourself it doesn’t feel right. They will see that title and make that subterranean connection.And that too can guide you to where you need to be, because it shows you where you shouldn’t go. What draws you to the novel is inevitably what draws the reader in.Getting the first sentence on paper can be one of the most difficult challenges a writer faces.Read on for ideas from eight authors on how to kick-start the writing process.