3 Elements of Bad Beginnings


Today I found a slip of paper on which I scribbled notes during an author’s lecture. The notes contained helpful advice. The speaker said there are common mistakes writers make which editors and publishers hate. Starting a story badly is one of those mistakes.

The lecturer listed three elements that make a bad beginning to any story:

  • too much back story or narrative
  • too long getting to the action
  • too much promised, then not delivered

New writers would be wise to post the list at their work station. As you start a story, check your work against the list to keep yourself out of trouble.

6 responses »

  1. I struggle with this one; I have a tendency to take too long to get into the action. I’m outlining my second novel now, but in the back of my mind, I’m constantly asking, “What will be the best way to start this?” because I’m not sure what I’ve chosen is it.

    • The subconscious mind is amazing at suggesting solutions. If you hand your plot problem over to it, and give it some percolation time, it will throw back a story line you may really like. I wish I could speed up that process, but I can’t. I’ve tried. However, I usually like the outcome, if I am patient enough to wait.

  2. Backstory, I think that might be my foe. Just because I know it, doesn’t mean I have to tell it.

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