Story Beginnings and Story Ends

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What exactly is it about writing beginnings that is so difficult for me? I’ve always found that when trying to write anything that I intend to be longer than a short story, the beginning paragraphs become a barrier that I can’t seem to pass. I wrote three different beginnings for this new story that will eventually become the blog novel this site is meant for, and only on that third try did I get something that started to go the direction I wanted. The first started out way too much like a short story. Yes, a novel should open and grab your attention, but the difference with short stories and novels is that a novel has a little more time to grab you than a short does. The second attempt ended up being way too annoying for me. It started sort of setting up a scene but in such a childish way that I didn’t like it. I think I was thinking way to Harry Potter for it and it just didn’t work. The third, though, clicked I think. It’s not perfect, and I don’t expect it to be on a first draft, but I liked how it opened and displayed in a small short paragraph this very memorable scene. The first paragraph doesn’t have the character yet, but it’s not finished. I have maybe 4 sentences in that first paragraph and right after this scene is set I will introduce the main character. It’s really going to be an exciting story. I got a few ideas from stuff I saw on TV over the weekend on Law and Order and a blurb of Lifetime (which is a terrible channel. Notice that Lifetime is TV for women, yet the women are always being killed, beaten, raped, etc. on there).

Now to what I find to be EVEN harder: endings. For short stories it is always a battle for me to find an appropriate ending. I’ve got a few stories that I’ve written that really clicked for me in the ending and I was actually happy with, and then I have a whole bunch that I was disappointed in how I ended them (some of which I reworked and moved over into that happy section). Novels are notoriously difficult for me. I’ve yet to actually finish a novel. I’ve made a few attempts and can easily reach that one hundred page mark, but I’ve yet to get to the end. So endings have me a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I will write this story, and I will finish it, but I am always afraid of what will turn out in the story as it develops and how the story will end.

So with my thursday coming up fast, the weekend dwelling in on me, and my writing set on its way I end this post. I am going to write a fun list of stuff in my next post on Thursday about the irritating things that happen when you are trying to write. Should be fun.


About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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