Monday, April 21, 2008

Hooked on beginnings

This past week, I’ve been busy — not with any one thing, but with lots of little stuff that adds up. On my list: I’m hoping to submit an essay for publication, but the writing and editing are just plodding along. The beginning of my essay needs to be better. Catchier. So, I just got a copy of Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go.

I don’t write fiction (truth and reality are more compelling to me), but I'm hoping that fiction techniques can help me write a more interesting essay. This book focuses only on the first few pages of a story. I could use help with that; beginnings are especially challenging for me. I prefer endings: the neatly (or not neatly) tying things up, leaving the reader with a last thought. Beginnings are too much pressure, and I've never been good at sales.

Maybe it is no surprise that I can write about breakups but can't always remember how a relationship started?


Virtude said...

Your post reminded me of a Danish author, Peter Høeg, and he has exactly the opposite problem to you! I believe he admitted in an interview once that he has "a big problem" with the endings of his books. This makes perfect sense to anyone who has read any of his novels- they start well, unfold beautifully and then, oh dear, right at the end it's like he just runs out of steam!

However in your case, I think you're way too critical of yourself- I know this because every single article or blog of yours that I have ever started to read I have finished!

Naomi said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate the encouragement. I'll have to check out the Danish author. I guess if I had a choice, I'd rather be able to write good endings than good beginnings — better to overdeliver than to disappoint. But the author of Hooked makes a good point: if the beginning isn't compelling, the reader won't bother going any further. So I'll keep working on this. :)

Jean said...

Please let meknw how you like it! thanks! Jean