Category Archives: Beginnings and Endings

The last thing that we find in making a book is to know what we must put first. –Blaise Pascal Why do new writers assume they must begin writing at the beginning and end at the end?  Of course this is a silly question.  We read from beginning to end, so this order seems obvious.  And getting the beginning right before moving forward is a time-honored writing technique.  Unfortunately in practice it can seem forced, deadly even, and often causes writers to get mired. Beginnings are almost always the last part of a story to come together.  If we don’t know what a story is about—it’s heartbeat—until deep into revision, how can we possibly know how to begin that story?  Beginnings must do a terrific amount of work:  They must introduce characters, setting, conflict, the narrator’s voice, and the writer’s emotional stake.  I recommend setting aside the beginning until you…

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