The first scene in the book is the most important.
That first scene, or really, the first page, is where you have to hook your reader. You want to draw in the person who picks up your book and reads the first few lines, or clicks on “preview” on Amazon.
I find that when I’m writing, if I have the first scene right, the rest of the story flows with (relative) ease. For Nanowrimo this past November, the opening scene had been banging around inside my head for at least a month, while I finished up my revision project and sketched out the major plot points for the Nano story. On November first, when I sat down to write, the story was ready and waiting to be told.
I’m working on a new story now. I have the “bones” of the story figured out in my head and on my whiteboard. But that first scene is causing me grief.
I know what I need to have happen in that first scene, I’m just having trouble with the how. I actually have a scene written, but I don’t seem to be able to work past it, which I’m pretty sure means there’s something not working. I might not be able to identify it, but it’s there, holding up the story.
I’m guessing, based on the writing software I’ve reasearched, that many writers work in a non-linear fashion, which could be an option here for me I suppose. Skip ahead to a scene further along in the story, and come back to work on this opening scene that’s got me stymied.
Unfortunately, I’m a linear kind of person. I can’t stand movies and TV shows that jump around in time. I wish they’d just tell the story from the beginning, and keep telling it until they get to the end! That’s howI write too. Start at the beginning and keep writing until I get to the end. In my first couple manuscripts all I knew at the start was how the story began and I figured out what was going to happen along with my characters. Which, let me tell you, SUPER FUN! But then I took Lani Diane Rich’s Revision course and decided that from then on I’d at least have a bit of a roadmap to follow, to make sure things were actually happening.
Speaking of revision, that’s another option. I could just power through, keep writing anyway, and come back and fix it later. It might come to that, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
For now though, I think I’m going to start over. I can always come back to the existing scene if I figure out what needs fixing and decide it works after all, but I’m going to start over fresh, come at it from another angle, and hopefully, gain some momentum on the project. Cause right now, there’s a lot of comtemplation and not a lot of actual writing going on.
And even if it doesn’t work at all, it’s okay. Like this excellent post on Natalie Whipple’s blog says, “Keep writing. It’s your education.”