Most writers will tell you that writing the beginning of the story is the hardest part.  You usually already have the meat of the piece when you start, you are in the middle of the story, all the good stuff is swirling all around you and you want to get at it.  Writing the beginning is the hardest bit.  Going back to the beginning, slogging through all the parts of how the characters got to be who they are, gained all the experience and the flaws, the misunderstandings and the insights to be where the good stuff starts, *bleh*.  It’s hard. It’s necessary, though.  I don’t know how many books, movies, tv shows and etc I have tried to love or even like, but I can’t get into the characters because they are cardboard cut outs. They aren’t real, they are the character version of “It was a dark and storm night…” the worst first line of a novel ever written.

Recently I’ve been working with students and clients that are stuck in the process of writing their own story because of the beginnings.  Some don’t realize they’ve gotten through the first few chapters and are now ready to get into the meat of the story.  They think they are still the hero trying to find their super power, the inspirational character dealing with a disability that will eventually not hold them back but propel them forward, the anti-hero that needs to move beyond the shouting and the emo attire and into true revolution. But in reality that line is behind them. What they need to do is let go of their old identity and claim the new one.  Time to be the plucky hero and enter the grand arena.

Others think that they have been in the center of their story for decades when in fact they have been slogging through the introduction.  They feel world weary and challenged because all their work has seemingly led them to nothing instead of the bounty they were hoping for.  It’s understandable that they should feel tired.  The beginning is hard, hard and hard.  It’s confusing because you don’t know where it’s leading to, it’s a struggle because everything has to be learned or remembered and sometimes that doesn’t happen in any logical order, and even worse when others are telling you that their story is your story and you can plagiarize from them and things will just fall into place because the story has already been written!  But sometimes someone else’s story is just a footnote to yours. Sometimes their story is jut the way you find another story that’s more meaningful.  Sometimes all that searching around, all the struggles and the experiences and the becoming is just the introduction to the really amazing story which is you.

How do you know?  How do you know where you are or what to do about it. How does any writer?  They don’t.  John Scalzi comments a bit ago about one of his most recent books that he got all the way to the end and realized he had to start over because the people he thought were the main characters were actually background players.  He had the right story, he knew what the events were, but the narrative needed to come from the heroes and he didn’t know who they were until he was done.  Doh!   So, as any writer will tell you, nothing gets written if you aren’t putting the words out there. If you aren’t writing, if you aren’t living your life, nothing magically gets done.  And if you’re writing the same thing over and over then the story goes nowhere and says nothing but the same old thing.  Who wants to read reams of that?  You need to write the story you want to be in. Many writers today are pointing to the fact that they write the books they want to read.  Our lives can be that if we choose.  Ready to be done being the broken girl? Then be done with it and start being the hero.  Want to be done with the hard work of all that intro stuff?  Then make sure you’ve got it all done and start digging into the meat of the story. It doesn’t mean it’s not hard as well. Writing is hard. Life is hard.  But the middle is where all the good stuff happens. Get writing and before you know it you’ll be fully immersed in the story you have always wanted to live.