Remember the first time you actually paid attention while your mom collected the ingredients for her famous homemade soup? It’s a snap; you said in your mind, I got this. The next week, you jogged down to the neighborhood grocery store, bought all the stuff you thought you needed, and skipped back home to create your masterpiece version of Mom’s wonderful broth.
How shocked and disappointed were you when your version of Mom’s recipe tasted like something fixed specifically to dump in the toilet? That might be a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.
What about the bicycle that your friend, James Leroy, rode like a champ his first time around? Did you really believe their story, that this was his first try? Well I know a few details that you don’t; a few details escaped your vision on that astounding first-time ride James Leroy took. His mama had been giving his secret lessons in their concrete backyard. What? You didn’t notice the weeks that James Leroy came to school with a limp?
And so it is with the creative process of writing: You will feel the confidence to believe that you can, and then you will dump the first soup and end up with a candy apple knee. You have an idea for a great storyline, you’ve seen your characters swimming around your bed at night—it is just that real. But when you try to put pen to paper, the words crumple into a hot mess!
Mama always said: Practice makes perfect. In the world of creative writing, I would say that Mama is only partially right. We build our skills as we continue to write, but every new book SHOULD have its own new and exciting challenges—otherwise it is not worth writing.
The good news is that even ‘A’ List, bestselling authors have to practice on every new book they write. It is an inescapable process in building a unique concept.
On my latest project, the Egyptian Moon Series Book 1 –Return, (scheduled for release March 2014) I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve thrown out the soup and rewritten the beginning. Here a major tip I hope will help to get you started.
You have this great idea for a story, you’ve outlined the chain of events and included the development of your character as the story progresses. You know what should happen, but when. Here’s where you’re ready to start practicing …
If you’re a Household Word Author, like Steven King, or James Patterson, Maya Angelo, you’ve proven that you know how to write a strong opening. Not there yet like me, practice an opening to captivate. It sounds simple, believe me it’s not—otherwise I would have written so many different Egyptian Moon openings.
Key thought #1 to remember: Start your story at the point of change for your main character(s). It has to be a day that he or she has never experienced and will never experience again. That point of change must be significant to what binds your story together.
Key thought #2 to remember: Start your story with something interesting. You only have a few seconds to attract a new reader to your book. Example: At this moment January 10, 2014, Egyptian Moon, Bok 1, Return, have two openings that tells the story from the protagonist and the antagonist points of view. Over the course of the coming weeks I’ll release excerpts for you to read and continued blog posts talking about the writing process and my latest project. Egyptian Moon.
Author Max W. Miller