P. D. Wright

Wrighting Blog

Writing a Description of Your Main Character in First Person

Posted By on October 6, 2011 | No Comments »

Well, I suppose I should start with it’s been a long, long while.  I honestly have been thinking about blogging for several months now, but I didn’t know what to say.  Then an innocent question posted on my writer’s group forum spurred this monstrous reply and I thought, “Well, I guess I can make my comeback blog post about this!”  If any of you have been waiting, or watching, or lingering, I am (hopefully) back at least for now.  :D

I know a lot of other authors have tackled this on their blog, but I thought I’d throw my two-cents in.  These are my special secrets! (OK, everyone uses them, but I am very pleased with the outcome every time I use these techniques, and anyone who doesn’t know how to do this might find this interesting).

The question was asked about a male character in a fantasy world, so please excuse if all my examples seem focused on fantasy.

As a writer who writes primarily first person POV I know a few tricks to adding descriptions to your main character – whether or not I manage to implement them properly is another story all together, but I am familiar with them and that has to count for something.  :D

1.  Introduce your character’s appearance slowly (well, slowly as in using different sections of the first chapter).  Start with her/him/them noticing one aspect of themselves as they walk, i.e., “My tunic, as always, was stained with ink from (whatever the reason).”  A little later, “Strands of brown hair fell into my face, obstructing my view.  I pushed my hair back in exasperation.”  And a little later again, “I’d always towered over the kids my own age, and most of the adults, but this person left me feeling dwarfed in their presence.”  Or, if they ARE the tallest person in the room, “As always, I seemed to tower over everyone else, unconsciously I found myself slouching, attempting to remove the distance between us.”

Your FIRST descriptor should be something that tells us about not just how the character looks, but also their personality.  In fact, I think all descriptors should incorporate personality, but your first should show a key part of the character’s personality.  Are they a slob?  Describe their messy clothes.  Are they proud?  Describe their good looks.  Are they average?  Describe their plain hair and non-descript appearance (haha).  Are they kindhearted?  Describe how they mute their extraordinary appearance in an attempt to not stick out.

2.  As you noticed in one of my examples above, a great way to introduce height is to compare it to other people’s – after all, in a fantasy world, 5’6″ isn’t going to mean much and in a futuristic sci-fi world it might be better to use centimeters (which won’t mean much to your American readers).  The trick to this is providing a full comparison – if your character is very tall, have them tower over everybody, if they are just tall for a kid, have them ALMOST as tall as an adult.

One of the biggest mistakes I had in the first version of my current WIP was not providing a full comparison to properly get out the fact that my character was supposed to be short.  I had a character standing nearly a head taller than her, but what I regretted to include was that all of the adults in her village were taller than her.  It leaves the reader wondering if she’s short or if the other character is just a giant.

Comparisons can also work for non-height descriptors.  For example, “I wiped my hand on my tunic, leaving another dark ink mark upon the already stained cloth.  My master was so fastidious about his appearance; I’d often wondered how he managed.  Wasn’t he using the same inks as me?”

A good comparison will provide insight into not only your character’s personality, but also the personalities of the characters they are comparing themselves to.

3. Girls are easier to deal with in first person than boys.  At least as far as descriptions go.  I’ve never once met a girl who was completely thrilled with how she looked, and girls tend towards the over-dramatic when it comes to their imperfections.  “I was short – petite as my mother liked to say – but it often left me feeling like a child lost in a sea of adults.”  Or even, “My parents had both stopped growing at a reasonable height, but like a weed, I continued to grow.  I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before I towered over even the boys in the village, and then no one would have me.”

4.  You can use others’ expectations for your character to describe your character.  “Because of my tall, muscular frame, my mother had always thought I’d become a blacksmith or a guard, and certainly I was built for such labor.  I think I broke her heart when I entered an apprenticeship for a scribe.”

Just as comparisons can add to other character’s personalities, a good expectation line can tell myriads about them.  From the previous line we get that his mother was invested in her child’s future, wanted him to go into physical labor, perhaps desired the prestige of a child in the palace guard, and didn’t like to be contradicted.

5.  If all else fails, you can incorporate a mock-mirror scene by having the character look into a pool of still water.  This is a weak way to add description, at the very least, but if you can’t come up with another way to manage it, this is a possibility.

REMEMBER: you have the entire first chapter to introduce your character.  Do it a little at a time.  I know a lot of people want to know what they look like right away, but as long as you do it early enough in the story, your reader will easily redevelop their vision of the character.  If a description comes in chapter 3 or 4 you run the risk of having your reader refuse to envision the character as you do, which can lead to complications when you attempt to use descriptors.  “I brushed a strand of brown hair out of my eyes.”  Who’s putting brown hair in your blonde character’s eyes????

Back to School Blogfest!

Posted By on September 15, 2010 | 11 Comments »

Well, when I signed up to join Roh Morgon’s Back to School Blogfest, I expected to have more time to write and edit my submission…  but my boyfriend came to town and then I got sick and life is what it is, so it’s not as perfect as I would have liked, but it’s a fun little story.  At least, I had fun writing it.

I based this story on a dream I had.  Of course, in the dream she was living on top a high school (rather than a university) and the boy she met was… Well, it was different, but in a way I didn’t have space for in this story.  Anyway, I hope you like it, ’cause it merges two of my favorite things: School and Zombiepocalypse.  :D

To read more about the blogfest and to see the other submissions, click here!


I stood on the roof of the science building, looking down at the cement walkway.  I pictured myself taking just one small step forward, then tumbling down, down to the pavement below.  It was a small fall, really–only four stories.  The wind would pull at my long hair, adrenaline would rush through my body and without meaning to, I’d probably twist and turn until I landed on a leg or an arm.

It wouldn’t be enough to kill me.  Just enough to leave me immobile, in pain, until nightfall.  And then they would come and tear into me until there was nothing left.

I shook my head.  I’d promised not to die.  But a promise made to dead person, did it really matter?  It wasn’t like Carlos had stuck around long enough to see just how lonely the world had become.  How quiet the campus got.

But I had promised.  And suicide just didn’t seem right, not with the whole world having gone to Hell. So I stood there and waited, like I always did, for night to come.  I closed my eyes and returned to the fantasy of ending it all.  There’s no one else.  I’m all alone.  Even if I live for fifty more years I’ll be alone.

“Don’t jump!”

My eyes flashed open and I teetered forward.  I had to scramble backwards to stop myself from falling over the edge and I landed uncomfortably on my butt, my eyes wide.  After a moment, I crept forward and peeked over the edge of the building.  There was a boy running towards me, waving his arms frantically to get my attention.

“Don’t jump,” he said again once he was closer, leaning over with his hands on his knees as he gasped for breath.  After a moment he glanced up at me through his wild red hair.  “I’m John.”

“Tam,” I replied.  My voice came out in a rasp.  I put my hand to my throat.  How long has it been since I last spoke?

“Tam.”  He grinned up at me, then let out a whopping laugh.  “Am I glad to see you.  I was beginin’ to think there were no more people left.”

“Why are you here?”  I asked, unable to look away from the laughing boy.  “Where are you from?”

He took his eyes off me long enough to glance at the horizon.  There was less than an hour until sunset.  “I don’t supposed you’d let me up there before I start answerin’ your questions?”

“There’s a stairway over there.”  I indicated the direction with a nod of my head.  “It’s been blown out, but you can climb to the second floor and I’ll lower my ladder.”

“Much obliged,” John replied, still grinning up at me as we walked toward the stairway.  “How old are you, Tam?”

“I was seventeen when it happened.”  I grabbed the ladder and pushed one edge slowly over the rooftop.  “Just about to graduate high school.”

John reached the ladder and began climbing up.  “So you took refuge on a college campus?”  He laughed.  “Seventeen, huh?  That’d make you nineteen now?”

“I–I guess.”  I hadn’t been keeping track of the passage of time.  Had it already been two years?

“I’m 20.  It’s nice to finally see someone around my age.  You been alone all this time?”

“Not at first.  There was my brother, Professor Prince, Meg and Taylor.  Carlos.”

“And now?”  he asked, stepping onto the roof.

“Just me.”

“Sorry,” he whispered.

I hung my head low so he couldn’t see the tears that threatened to spill and shrugged.  “It happens.  What’re you doing here?”  I reiterated my earlier question, grabbing the top of the ladder and pulling it back onto the roof.

“I came lookin’ for you.  You and other survivors.”

I turned to walk back toward the center of the roof, where I had my tent and campfire.  I’d been cooking rice before he interrupted me – -it was a little burnt now, but it’d do, there was no point wasting food.  Not when it was so hard to replace.

I grabbed Carlos’ bowl and served up half the gruel to John.  It wasn’t much, I hadn’t been expecting company, but it was better than an empty stomach.

“What would want to find survivors for? ”

John’s eyebrows furrowed.  “Don’t you wanna be around other people?  Be part of a community again?”

“Sure.”  I offered him a humorless smile.  “Communities are great.  Until you realize that every stupid decision one person makes puts everybody else in danger, too.  You think I want to put my life in anyone’s hands but my own?”

“Are you serious?”  John put his bowl down barely touched and moved closer to me.  “You’d rather live up here alone, surrounded by monsters, than a place where there are people–real livin’, breathin’ people–to watch out for you?”

I avoided looking at him, though he was standing uncomfortably close.  I could almost feel the warmth from his body.  The truth was, I didn’t want to be alone.  I hated it.  The quiet, the emptiness, there was nothing to distract me from death–it was everywhere.  Moving in around me, suffocating me until it was all I could see, all I could think about.  These last few minutes with John had been my happiest since…  Well, since before Carlos got sick.

“I promised I’d stay alive,” I whispered, pulling my knees into my chest and hunching down to stare at my feet.  “I haven’t seen a community capable of making that happen.”

“What if I promise to protect you myself?”  He laid a hand on my arm, pulling on it until I turned to look up at him.  “I’ll keep you safe if you come with me.  What do you say?”

Despite the honesty in his eyes, I knew he was lying.  There was nothing he could do to keep me safe.  I’d be gotten by them, or disease.  Old age.  People just weren’t meant to last forever.  But the feel of his hand on my arm–the heat spread through my body like wildfire.  His warmth was more convincing than any words he could have said.  I wasn’t alone.  That was better than being alive.

I nodded, laying my head on my knees as tears fell.  John draped an arm around my shoulder and sat next to me as I cried.  We sat that way until the pounding and thumping below told me that night had fallen.  The quiet campus was once again filled with bodies, and they were hungry.

End of Summer and Back to Blogging

Posted By on August 27, 2010 | 4 Comments »

Well, it’s been a long hiatus, which I feel a little justified in since I don’t have a  following (and no, mom, you don’t count).  :D

Interesting things have been happening in my life this summer, though.  To share a little:

  • I went to a writing workshop hosted by THE Orson Scott Card (no, before anyone gets overly excited, I didn’t do the week-long one – thank goodness, my money is tight enough ATM).  I hope to post a little about what he talked about throughout the next few months.  I think it might be useful to many of us aspiring authors.
  • I spent lots of time with my wonderful boyfriend, David Oliver
  • I started training in Jeet Kune Do with my buddy C. Michael Fontes– I’ve always wanted to learn martial arts, so this was fun
  • AND, perhaps most exciting, I got my short story, Ryuu (now known as The Swordsman), done and ready for publication in an anthology!  It’s probably a few months out still, but once it’s done I will be posting more about it.  :D

Before you go, one of my friends, a fantastic writer named Roh Morgon, is having a blogfest! Jump on over to her site and check it out!

Anyway, I hope anyone who stumbles by this had a great summer.  What did you people do?

Guest Blogger: Ninja Cups and the Path to a Better World

Posted By on June 20, 2010 | 5 Comments »

It’s been a while! Life has been crazy and I’ve let my blog got to waste. :( I feel bad about it, but sometimes life is like that. After complaining to my boyfriend about how much I’ve neglected my blog, he kindly offered to make a blog post for me – kinda a guest spot. Since Dave is brilliant, I thought the idea was fantastic. That said, please enjoy my boyfriend, David Oliver, and his first blog post, Ninja Cups and the Path to a Better World:

Greetings all! I would first like to thank Paula for graciously allowing me to use this space as a guest blogger. This is my first blog post so I was planning on writing something splashy, perhaps revolutionary. I figured it would contain some humor, some drama, perhaps a bit of ageless wisdom and just maybe the Great Key to Literary Success. After due consideration I decided it would be better to simply write about what happens to be on my mind at the moment, which takes us to… Ninja Cups. (I mean, who needs great wisdom when you can have Ninja Cups?)

A few days ago I had a dream in which I was trying to uncover the plans and tactics of a covert organization which recruited a friend of mine. The dream had all the excitement of a good spy thriller, but the plot of the dream was not what got me to thinking. In the dream I first realized that there was more to the actions of the people I was watching by listening to them talk. I found that the people had a habit of talking in strange euphemisms and slang-speak. An example of this was Ninja Cups, which was used to mean “excessive or over the top, but still effective.” The etymology of the word was a story about a ninja taking a walk by a river and realizing he was thirsty. Without a cup he was at a loss until some poor soul happened to pass by the ninja and with a swift ninja kick to the head the ninja retrieved the decapitated head and voila, he had a cup.

This example may be slightly gruesome but I bet many of the readers will remember it, and more still have a greater understanding of the nature of this organization. When writing fantasy or science fiction I have to be careful in my word craft not to include any modern slang, euphemisms or turn of phrases; after all, such linguistic tools are usually specific to this time or that place, and forcing an out-of-place out-of-time expression will drive the reader away from the world they are so painstakingly attempting to create.

This statement poses a problem though; if a writer successfully divests their writing of all the slang, euphemism, turn of phrases and other colorful tools which predominates our language they will find their work made sterile in its formality. The reason is simple; everybody utilizes a veritable cornucopia of those colorful uses of the language countless times every day in all forms of speech. Most people are not even aware of the full range of these tools that they use. For example the term “restroom” is a euphemism derived from other euphemisms which were in turn derived from yet other euphemisms. If a character in a story uses the lavatory, restroom, john or head, that character is going to the same place, but the choice of terms provides the reader with enough contextual diversity to give the reader an understanding of the flavor of the character.

My suggestion, then, is for the writer to be aware of the world they are creating. Some modern terms may be acceptable but it is probably better to assume that they are not. Before a writer first puts pen to paper (or hands to keyboard nowadays,) they should strive to learn their world, learn the political, economic and artistic climate that predominates in their world. Once the writer has achieved a basic understanding of their world, they should set forth to create a small lexicon of slang and phrases which will serve to increase the readers understanding of the world.

The writer needs not use all the full set of phrases developed, just as they may create new phrases as their story progresses, but by being aware of this they can add layers of creativity, understanding and realism to their world. In short, they can make their world a better place. It must also be added, though, that the blind addition of strange phrases will not increase a world’s clarity, rather the writer must make sure that the reader understands the meanings and perhaps history and context of the phrases. Only then will the world be made more real. An example of this is a world I created with a friend some years back. We created a futuristic world of domed cities controlled by corporate “families” where all technology, from cars to doors to lights was connected and controlled by the internet.

In this world we decided to coin the slang term, “waters,” for the internet. From that base we created a massive list of terms and phrases to describe many of the aspects of the lives of the characters, such as “divers” for hackers, “sharks” for high powered attack programs and “puddles” for systems that were cut off from the rest of the internet. In the end we could freely add new slang terms and phrases with minimal exposition. This gave the world a level of complexity and realism that could hold the readers attention and cause them to suspend their own instinctual disbelief.

There are many aspects to the creation of a successful story and a good writer must not only be aware of all these aspects but juggle them as well. It is my hope that while this entry may make the job and the joy of writing a little more difficult for some, it will provide a better story to grace the minds of the readers. Thank you.

Picking Your Novels

Posted By on May 23, 2010 | 7 Comments »

I was talking (perhaps ” grumbling” is more accurate) to töff (from FSFW) about the short story I’ve been trying to write.  The story is The Betrayal of Mihangel and my problem is the more of the story I try to write the more obvious it is that it was never meant to BE a short story.  There’s a novel worth of material – maybe even a trilogy – and every time I sit down to write I think of new ideas and concepts to throw into the plot.  It’s been driving me mad.  I have twists and turns the story can take that will make it a better read and a more realized world, but every time I try, the word count flashes through my mind and I get discouraged.

Töff, in his infinite wisdom, replied, “Yeah, but you gotta pick your novels.  You can’t write everything.”

I thought about it for a while and decided that töff’s right.  If I wrote every story that came to me I’d do nothing but write and I STILL would never feel a sense of completion.  There isn’t enough time in my life to write all the story ideas I’ve already had, let alone all the ideas that come to me as I write more and more.

It’s difficult to admit, but some ideas will never get written due to time and interest constraints.  Mihangel would have been such a story had I not decided to write a short story based off it.  Now that it’s run away with me, I realize that it can’t be a short story at all.  Since I’m already far into my first draft of Alex, it seems unlikely that Mihangel will see the light of day again until I am finished.  And then it will have to hold its own as a story idea against all the other story ideas I might want to write.

Well, Mihangel has some advantage in that it’s further along than other story ideas I have.  And I think I can finish it in one novel (though, it HAS run away with me before).  For now the project is on hiatus as I focus on finishing the first draft of my Alex project and the new short story I’ve started working on, since I still need one done by June 15th (eek…  Wish me luck).

Projects Status:

Title Length Status (estimated)
Alex Novel (rough draft) 33% complete
Ryuu Short Story (rough draft) 29% complete
Mihangel Novel (rough draft) On Hiatus

Don’t you love how my story titles are all names? Wow, all but one are guys, too. Oh well, I still hope for titles to come to me as I continue to write. I’ll leave you all with some words of wisdom from C Michael Fontes – the first words he said when I told him what my next blog post was going to be. “You can pick your friends and you can pick your novels, but you can’t pick your friends novels.”  That actually inspired me to come up with another blog post, but not for today. Maybe Wednesday. :)

Contest Winners and Problem Sections

Posted By on May 12, 2010 | 6 Comments »

So, though this is REALLY late, I actually did pick the winner on the right day. I just only now got around to posting it. Sorry, life has been busy busy (I say it twice so you know it’s true). Anyway, on to winners!

The winner of my Guards! Guards! Giveaway contest, who will receive a brand new copy of the book Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett, is bunnyb! Contact me (pdwright[at]pdwright[dot]com) to claim your prize (I’ll need a name and mailing address)! (Just to be safe, I’ll try emailing you, too – telepathy doesn’t seem to work as well as I hoped.) Congratulations bunnyb – I hope you love the book!

Now that business has been taken care of, you might be wondering about what’s been keeping me so busy busy. There are many things – my last post on distractions might give you somewhat of a clue – but the biggest thing, the most annoying thing, the most frustrating thing that’s been on my plate is a problem section in my WIP.

Every time I sit down to write I see this section. I rewrite it. I stop. I reread it. I hate it. I try again. Over and over I do this until I am too frustrated to write anymore. It’s stressful, it’s demoralizing, and it’s part of life. At least, for a writer, it is.

So what do you do when your manuscript is being difficult? Well, I have three techniques I attempt to use when I notice that I’ve been caught in a Problem Section (I don’t always realize it right away – it’s not uncommon for me to rewrite a section once or twice):

  1. Take a break. Walk away. Work on something else. Cook dinner. Clean the house. A little time away from a problem section – from your manuscript as a whole – might just give you the freshness you need to attack it from a different angle.
  2. Ask for help. I just submitted four pages of my Problem Section to my small writer’s group, telling them that it’s causing me trouble and I need help. Sometimes you are too close to the problem to see the answer, and sometimes just talking the problem out can lead to a solution. A fresh pair of eyes can be amazingly helpful. (That is my hope for THIS section – I guess I’ll find out at small group tonight!)
  3. If all else fails, skip it! I hate to do this. I hate to even mention it. Somehow skipping a section makes my manuscript feel less whole. But sometimes it’s just what you have to do. Obviously, if you are on a final draft this recommendation doesn’t work – you can probably only leave these kinds of holes in your first or (if necessary) second draft. But rather than being frustrated by one little section and get no writing done, sometimes you just have to move past it and see what you want to do with it when everything else is done.

Anyway, those are what I do. Does anyone else have other techniques? I can use all the help I can get at this point.

Things that Distract me from Writing

Posted By on May 5, 2010 | 8 Comments »

I have thousands of ideas. They jump at me from everywhere I look, every person I meet, every night I dream (last night I dreamt that finishing a dissertation in economics involved fighting off a demon invasion; the core plot of the dream was preposterous – everyone knows it’s the Actuaries who fight evil – but there were some amazing and usable concepts involved).

Since I consider myself a creative person, it seems to me that I should have written hundreds of novels or short stories by now. So why haven’t I? I can answer in one word: distractions. All sorts of big or small things that steal my time, leaving me writingless (if you’ll forgive me making up a word). There are honestly hundreds of things that could distract me at any moment, but the following are the five worst offenders:

  1. A messy workspace. I have a tidy house – in the public rooms, at least. My private rooms (my bedroom, and to a lesser extent, my bathroom) are a different story. I have books piled near the head of my bed waiting for reading, a few odd pieces of clothing that haven’t made it into the drawer or hamper somehow, a box of Kleenex for my allergies, and piles of papers on and around my desk, all containing edits from my friends at FSFW that still need implementation (or at times, just need to be filed away). Usually I can work around it, but when the mess reaches critical, I have to abandon all else and start organizing.
  2. Solitaire style computer games. I stop playing Spider Solitaire and start on Mine Sweeper, I stop Mine Sweeper and begin playing Mahjong, and so on. These games are a waste of my writing time, but I STILL manage to convince myself that “I’ll just play one game.” Sixty games in and an hour later, I’m still stuck.
  3. Work. You’d think my boss paid me or something, the way I can’t get any writing done during work.
  4. TV. I’m not talking about cool and necessary shows that are worth watching every week no matter what, I mean stupid reality shows about who can hop on one foot for the longest time, or mindless reruns of the same terrible sitcoms over and over again. I swear, the TV goes on and my brain goes off.
  5. Reading. Reading is a vital part of being a writer, but it’s very hard to put a book down. I can’t write with my eyes glued to a book – it’s a shortcoming I’m working on fixing. Does anyone know where I can get an extra set of eyes?

Don’t forget – there’s still time to enter my Book Giveaway Contest!

Recommended Reads and my first Contest!

Posted By on May 3, 2010 | 15 Comments »

So, Elana Johnson has started a list of recommended reads, and I immediately asked if I could take part!  It’s a great idea, a bunch of writers writing about books that they admire.  I decided to recommend an author who I think is brilliant and hilarious all at once, Terry Pratchett.

Guards! Guards!

If you have never read Terry Prachett’s Discworld series, it’s about a world shuttled through space on the back of a giant turtle, held up by four elephants.  These books are both fantasy (a genre I love) and parody of the real world.  This series has it all; a cold, calculating Patrician who happens to be the only person capable of running the city; an orangutan librarian; the disheveled and terrified “Wizzard”, Rincewind, who is constantly forced into heroic actions; a walking trunk with a nasty temper and a BIG set of teeth; and the possibility of meeting Death around any corner – he’ll probably be the one in the black robe, petting the kitty cat.  For more information on this amazing series of books, go ahead and check Wikipedia.

For new Discworld readers, Guards! Guards! is an excellent place to start.  It follows the misadventures of the down-on-his-luck Captain of Ankh-Morpork’s night guard, Sam Vimes, and his crew of misfit men (Sergeant Colon, Corporal Nobbs, and new volunteer Carrot Ironfoundersson – a six foot tall dwarf) as they fight sobriety, the Thieves Guild, and a cranky Dragon who has just usurped the Patrician as ruler of the city.

The beauty of Discworld is in the simple humor around every corner.  Guards! Guards! is not the first book in the series, but it IS one of my favorites and it begins the guard’s storyline.

Onto the Contest!

As my friend, C. Michael Fontes is giving away a copy of Ender’s Game to anyone who will leave a comment in his post, I have decided to do the same.  To win a new copy of Guards! Guards!, leave a post in my blog and I will enter you for a chance to win.  For an added bonus, link my blog to yours and I will give you a second entry (just provide the link to your blog in your comment).

PLEASE make sure you use a valid email address in your comment!

I will draw the winner from my cool renaissance hat, in honor of Discword, on May 7th, midnight(ish) my time.

While you are at it, try your luck on C Michael Fontes’ contest and also in Natalie Whipple’s (she’s the one who gave him the idea, so I’m spreading the word).

EDIT: For a list of all the Spreading the Awesome Contests, check out Nicole Ducleroir’s awesome blog! She’s got a list of the contests on her left side panel!

To continue Spreading the Awesome, I direct you to Musings of a Palindrome to read about an awesome sounding book, The Bones of the Moon.

Skipping the beginning

Posted By on April 29, 2010 | 4 Comments »

The last several months I’ve been under definite pressure to start this blog.  I resisted for a while, but my friends (writers C. Michael Fontes and R. Garrett Wilson) were insistent and here I am.  Blogging.  Honestly, it’s a little harder than I imagined.  Usually when I sit down to write, the words start flowing.  Today I stared at a blank screen for several minutes before I could even think of how to start this post.  I know exactly why, too.  This is a beginning.

Ugh.  I’ve never liked starting things.  Ending something is only marginally better, but beginnings are horrible.  I usually skip.  In fact, in my current novel – my Alex project, and my last short story – The Betrayal of Mihangel, I skipped the beginning of both.  For Alex, I started at chapter 2 then wrote on until chapter 6 before deciding I had gone the wrong direction, tossed out all of what I had written, and started again, this time with chapter 1.  Somehow, realizing where I’d gone wrong in the first version gave me inspiration for how to start the second version.

It was the same with The Betrayal of Mihangel.  Mihangel’s main problem – something I’ll get back to in a later post – is that it had a novel’s worth of plot.  I knew I had to write it in 10,000 words, but how do you condense a novel into a space that small?  Well, for ME, at least, it involved writing the key scenes first.  Then I jumped around and filled in whatever was missing, including the beginning (which began to flow really well after everything else was figured out).  It wasn’t an easy feat, but I have a short story I’m pleased with.

Anyway, the moral of this story, not everything has to start at the beginning.  Because beginnings stink. Especially in writing.