Monday, March 29, 2010

In Which the Beginning Vexes Me

I've been having trouble with the beginning of my story.  I had the whole first chapter written; it's kind of prologue-y with the backstory, but it's told in third person and revolves around my MC's parents, sort of setting up motivation for why they do what they do later in the story.  But I'm having trouble with the idea of writing that in third person as a narrator and then writing the rest of the story in first person as my MC.  It's not jiving.  I know lots of books switch POV, but at the moment, it's not working for me.  I'm also wondering if, even though I set it up through a narrator so that you could "see" the scene instead of just having someone tell about it, there is too much telling and I need to just find a way to better infuse the backstory into the current story.  Muse?  Feel free to jump in at any time.

I have the rest of the book planned out in 12 sections that may or may not be chapters; for the moment, they are chunks of story.  I have parts written and other parts outlined and it's a little kooky but it's coming together.  I could go on and keep working on one of the other parts, but this beginning thing is currently my little black raincloud that keeps on nagging at me.  I need to work it out. 

I am now in search of a good pen and a spiral notebook.  Because I do my best working out on paper. :)

20 comments:

Meika said...

Ahh, your problem is similar to mine right now. I'm torn about the POV in my book. All signs seem to be pointing to first...but I've got over 70k written in third. Revision will be fun!

Also, I do my best work with a pen and paper, too :)

Good luck with your prologue!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I am under that raincloud with you! :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I find I don't have problems with intros (although a lot of the first draft will inevitably get cut), but with middles. I lose my mojo and have to find it again.

Good luck!

KM said...

Ted Dekker's KISS does a good job of POV switching, I think. The prologue had a different POV than the rest of the book, but I felt like I did a great job of hooking the reader. Try looking at that and seeing if it helps. Dekker is awesome!!

Piedmont Writer said...

How about if you just worked on the rest of the book, left the beginning until after it was finished? Sometimes working backwards helps.

Falen said...

I agree with Piedmont - i write my best beginnings after the end is done.
Also i will recommend Hooked by Les Edgerton - a writing book that focuses purely on beginnings.

AchingHope said...

Hm... Switching POV's are tricky. I hope you figure it out so that your little black raincloud can skitter away. Or that your little black raincloud will skitter away so that you can figure it out? Either way.

With my one wip I'm having difficulties with the opening, trying to figure out when to start it. Annoying.

Jackee said...

That's hard for me to work through too. Good luck, I hope that spiral helps you out!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'll go with Anne on this one, too. Just keep writing and by the time you come back to the first part of the piece, or probably before, you'll have come up with how you want to handle it.

OfficeGirl said...

I am having the same issue. Or similar anyways. I have written my whole book in third person and even as I write I think "Damn I should be doing this in first person!" But I keep doing it...I dont know why.

Medeia Sharif said...

I get a notebook with a pretty cover and some gel pens and handwrite the first few chapters of a project. This makes my ideas flow, especially when I'm not sure how to begin. Then I transfer everything to the computer and finish on there.

Alleged Author said...

You can do it! I often like to read some books I have as favorites to see how they began when I am in that kind of a bind. Maybe that will help?

storyqueen said...

I hear you!!!

I'd say just play around with different things and the answer WILL come...eventually.

Shelley

purpleunicorns26 said...

Try reasearching a few Jodi Picoult books. She is really good at changing points of view with each chapter. She even gives each person their own type font as well as their own voice. The prologues are sometimes written and you aren't sure who is speaking until somewhere near the end of the book. Check out "My Sister's Keeper" to see that prologue. I've got great confidence in you and know you will get through this bump in the road.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Blah. Beginnings. They stink to high heaven in most of my WIPs. I agree, though. Try coming back to it later. It might help if you've done more of the middle.

@KM: Dekker! I love him! Well, his writing, but you know what I mean.

Cynthia Reese said...

Errr ... I would say you have beginningitis, a malady which affects me quite a bit. I won't tell you how many times I have ripped apart the first three chapters of my current MS, and you don't have to tell me how many wads of paper you wind up with in your wastebasket. Deal? ;-)

Good luck! You can do it!

Mizzez Melly Mel said...

Hi,
I think you should just keep writing on your other parts. When the time is right, the beginning with click for you.

When I started my novel, I debated on having my female MC narrate in first person. Then I decided not to because I wanted my male MC's POV to come across as well.

Well, the author of the book that I'm currently reading has his MC narrating in first person. Then in some alternating chapters he switches to third person so the nemesis's POV is shown. I found this to be very interesting.

Also, I have an award over at my blog for you! Come on over and pick it up!

Glynis said...

Could it be done in the form of your POV reading a journal? A page from a diary type of prologue.
Have fun working it out.

Palindrome said...

I always Taurantino my stuff, I write random action or fast-paced scene and then get into the story. Later, it will bring you back to the beginning...at least, that's what I do on my mind paper. I have yet to do it on actual paper.

We are so much alike! I do my best work on paper too!!

Shelley Sly said...

Oh, I have been there. And when I start my next novel in a few months, I will be there again. I agree with Anne -- it might help to start from a point that you know you can write. You can always write the beginning later. (And often, the beginning is the part that changes the most, so no need to feel pressured to get it right the first time.) Best of luck!