Start at the beginning

Such great advice. Not that anyone actually follows it. I’m certain I didn’t anyhow. The current fantasy project I’m working on started out as a single hand-written page concept for a science fiction story, my notes put it sometime in 2004. Although I had a character and some very basic ideas about his circumstances, I didn’t have a beginning. So, I went looking for one. The circumstances for my character were somewhat fantastical and so the history became fantastical, which eventually led me to a setting in which you would expect a high fantasy to occur. This process also introduced other characters and conflicts, which eventually eclipsed the original concept as the more interesting story. Even then, I still didn’t have a beginning. In the vain hope of a beginning coming to me, I spent years creating maps and languages, people and history. After that, I still didn’t have a beginning, so I started writing-up the back-stories of characters I’d developed for this world. Finally, in desperation, I did a global search and replace of a name in one of these back-stories just to see what might happen, and suddenly I had my beginning. The next few chapters came easily over the course of a couple of weeks. I felt really good about them too. Then, I asked several people to read over the work. Needless to say, the beginning, and the bulk of the subsequent chapters, only vaguely resemble what I started with, but the core of my story remains, and I’m still making progress.

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