Writing Advice

Death to boring beginnings!

Starting a story can be the hardest part. Even right now I’m stumped as to how to begin my novel. I have no idea what I’m doing.  And the thing about beginnings is that when you’re completely stuck with where to open your story, sometimes it comes out all cliche and cringe-worthy.

I’ve had this problem plenty of times (it’s a problem I’m right in the middle of, actually). So here’s a short article from Writer’s Digest that I came across, which goes through a bunch of cliche beginnings to stories. You know, the ones you want to avoid at all costs. The ones you know are cliche, but somehow manage to squeeze themselves out onto the page and then there it is: the first thing your reader gets is a slap in the face with The Pimp-Hand of Dull Writing.

Despite the fact that I’m pretty sure this article is aimed at children’s writing, it’s still valid for most stories, I think. I’ve definitely been guilty of the very first cliche on the list: ‘Waking up’.

Hopefully having read the boring beginnings, I’ll be able to recognise the icky cliches easier, before I start my story with them. And maybe coming up with a proper beginning for my novel won’t be so rocky, because at the moment I’m floatin’ along in the Boring Boat.


5 thoughts on “Death to boring beginnings!

  1. Damn, pretty sure I’m guilty of a few of those… Hopefully I’ve left them behind, though. If not, I have something to improve upon, at least.

    • I think a lot of people have been guilty of them, otherwise they wouldn’t be such cliches! The ‘waking up’ is definitely the one I need to look out for. It just seems so natural, but it’s so over-used. Thanks for the re-blog too by the way! 😀

  2. Reblogged this on Liquid Matthew's Development Blog and commented:
    A nice little list of story beginnings to avoid. Excellent advice, all of them! If I can add one of my own, it’d be “How did I get into this mess?” where the story starts in media res, and then immediately goes back to describe the long, slow process of how the character actually got into the exciting part of the story. It’s not terrible, but it’s a bit over-used and easy, I feel. Sort of a minimum-skill, maximum-reward technique. There are better things to use, but this is so easy and has a relatively great payoff that it’s easy to use it as a crutch.

  3. What if you start with chapter 2, then come back to chapter 1 – and the all-important beginning – later? Then you’ll have a full story in front of you, which may help you figure out how to start it. 🙂 Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s