I suck at beginnings. My god, do I suck at them. I cannot seem to crack the code on this one. I read the beginnings of the stories I love and I marvel at them. I see what the author did, how they sank us in at the crucial moment and delivered just the right amount of information to put us firmly in the story instantly. I just can't seem to do it myself.
I went back over a couple of stories I had worked myself to the bone on a while back, and had even done a fair round of submissions/rejections on. The middles and ends are not bad. The beginnings suck.
So I'm going to just accept the fact that I'm the remedial kid in this area and study. I have a book on my shelf for exactly this purpose, appropriately titled Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. I will consult it and see if I can't fix these things. One of these older stories is important to me, and I am reasonably certain that it's the first page that's killing it. The first page, of course, is the most important one. I've had the occasional editor read past it and give me notes on the rest of the it, but when I read it today it's page One that makes me flinch.
Oh, and that 6:00 a.m. thing was great for a day, then the weekend happened, and I don't think that really counts. We'll see how it goes this week. My target is actually 5:00 a.m. — when the girls go back to school and our new housemate/ Helmsman/ Love of my Life arrives, much of the extra time I gain will be lost in the whirlwind of getting everyone prepared for the day.
I'm experiencing my own story right now, one that began thirteen years ago with a beginning that didn't suck at all. It started in media res, with the protagonists right at the crucial moment of change. I know I've said I'm going to keep this blog focused, but frankly it's hard to focus when there are six weeks in between visits with Patrick and one of them is approaching in twelve days. Also, it's the last one. The next time he's here it will be for much more than a visit.
The middle of this story has been at times brutally unpleasant, often meandering, and for a time we lost the narrative thread entirely. We seem to be closing in on a satisfying ending.
And the best endings, I think, are really beginnings in disguise.