Where do you start your story? I am not talking about about what you select for your compelling opening sentence, what the first paragraph is about, or even where in the plot line the story begins. I am talking about where you begin with the writing of the story, the first words you put to paper in your first draft.
Do you have an outline in mind and then begin at the beginning? Do you write about the character in your head and see where the writing takes you?
I sometimes put together jigsaw puzzles which are subsequently taken apart and put back into the box. That makes me think about whether things we do and experience in life are about the destination or the journey itself. A friend said that, instead of starting at the edges and the corners, she sometimes started jigsaw puzzles in the middle or at some small detail she noticed in the picture on the box. The result, she said, is a different journey that can be mind opening.
I am an organized and fairly linear thinker. So I start puzzles with the edge pieces and build the border first. But after thinking about her comment, I might just start my next puzzle in the middle.
And I wonder what the result would be if I start my next story in the middle and work outward to the start and the end. A writer at a recent workshop I attended talked about the story she was working on. She knew the beginning and the end, but didn’t know what would happen in the middle. It was a familiar story to me and others in the room.
Jumping directly into the middle, even if it isn’t yet clear, is likely to get the mind working in different ways. The story may take a different shape or tone. If you are a writer that routinely starts in the middle, consider what might happen if you deliberately started somewhere else. A different approach may lead to new perspectives.
Where will you start your next story?