Following Your Bliss at the Expense of Your Beginning

Baby nectarineMany of us expect the storycrafting process to follow the flow of the story. You write the beginning first, the middle after that, and then conclude once you’ve gotten to the climax of the action. However, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, you get to a point in the story when you realize that your narrative has completely turned around in your hands. You might see exactly where you need to take the story, and you might love where it’s headed – but good God, are you unsure about the beginning.

In times like these, the important thing to do is to keep going. Writers can produce mediocre or even terrible work whenever they feel like it, and we so rarely get those moments of really knowing exactly what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a novel when one of those moments hits you. Follow the good stuff, and worry about fixing your beginning once you’ve completed the draft.

Of course, fixing the beginning is much easier said than done. When my second half of a story deviates wildly from the first, I sometimes find myself completely rewriting the beginning. This is just as much hard work as it sounds; the silver lining is that I know which events I need to foreshadow, which characters are going to take priority in their development, and which themes I need to introduce as the story gets rolling.

If you’re struggling through a narrative when you’re struck by sudden inspiration, it can be tempting to ignore the bright light and keep trying to elevate your mediocre story. Make the radical change instead. It’s going to take work and time, but plodding on with your current course is probably going to take more work and more time. Go with the inspirational moment, even if it means you have to completely rewrite your story’s beginning.