In the Beginning . . .

In the Beginning . . .

“Where to begin?  Ah, yes.  Concerning Hobbits.” – From the Lord of the Rings.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Start at the beginning.

Start in medias res.


This entire post could be nothing but a list of all the words of encouragement and advice, many statements contradictory, many unhelpful.  What does start at the beginning even mean when writing fiction?  Does it mean going back to the Big Bang, or to the beginning of writing in Ancient Mesopotamia?  Does it mean to go back to the beginning of a character’s life a la Dickens’s David Copperfield?  Or does it mean something else all together.  And the statement that immediately proceeds the one about starting at the  beginning is directly contradictory: start in medias res, or in the middle.  What is going on?


The rule about writing is that there are no rules.  Each story is different, each character should be different.  The same setting can be described differently by two authors.  It’s maddening, and that is what makes writing fun.  It also makes it impossible to know where the best place to start is, even if you have read a book called Beginnings, Middles and Ends.  What is good for one story is not necessarily good for another.


My purpose in starting this website and this blog is twofold: 1. from a basic level, to keep myself accountable to write the story I am set on (right now a ghost story set largely in 19th century Manitoba – but who knows if that changes); and 2. to start a discussion about writing with writers in various stages of their careers.  The comments are open and I want to share my journey with you, and hope you will share yours with me.


A note on that last point: writing processes are different for everyone, and sharing is fine but if yours is to write on a hill while standing on your head, naked under the full moon, well . . .You do You, but no pictures please.