As of this writing we are a good two weeks into the annual National Novel Writing Month. It’s about now that the people taking part have neatly divided into four categories. Some people who are just doing it for a lark are going to be well on their way to finishing 50,000 words and never looking back. Others are just realizing that what they’ve started is going to take a lot more than 50k to be “finished”. A third group is realizing they have no damn clue how they’re going to finish what they’ve started. And the fourth group has, unfortunately, spent half of the month struggling through the beginning of their project.
Those last two groups aren’t just part of the NaNoWriMo tradition, they’re part of writing as a whole. Throughout the community you’ll find people who struggle with beginning and ending their work. A lot of writers even debate as to which is harder, a good beginning or a good ending. I’ve rarely met a writer myself who didn’t have an opinion on the topic and have strong feelings towards one of these things. So, with so many people struggling with it, you can easily understand why this would be the debate they have.
However, like with character vs. plot, I don’t really think that people are considering the actual problem. People have an instinct to become upset with something without stopping to understand why it’s an issue. Even those educated in the art of writing will usually have only a vague grasp of why these things are challenging to beginning writers. But what if I told you that the thing you’re having a problem with isn’t beginnings or endings?
What if I told you that you’re having a problem with everything else? Continue reading Beginnings and Endings: The Terrible Two?