Intro Music by Fretts!

Our intro and our outro music is Your Government Loves You and Wants You to be Happy, by Fretts! If you love it as much as we do, you can find more beautiful music at!

Starting the Story


What We’re Drinking:

This episode we enjoyed a can of Top Cutter IPA, from Bale Breaker Brewing Company in Moxee, Washington. Neither James nor I are IPA fans. This was a very hoppy IPA, but it had a kind of a fresh, cool flavor. It reminded me of spruce needles. I think I was more of a fan of this than James was, I would definitely drink it again.

What We’re Saying:

We started out this episode talking about how to begin writing a story, and were quickly derailed by the fact that I start writing my stories at the end.

I start at the end for a few reasons. First, I prefer to not outline, so when I have the end done, I have a place to write toward. There are dozens of different paths that the story can take, but whichever it is, it has to lead to the end. The other reason is that beginnings are really hard to write. The end, by comparison, is easy. It’s generally speaking dramatic; it’s some kind of “set piece” or a scene that draws all of the ideas and events in your novel together.

Beginnings are difficult because in a lot of cases where you start your story isn’t going to be the beginning. You probably won’t know where to start your story until the book is written, because you want to start as close to the action as possible. I wrote four different beginnings to the novel before I settled on one, and they were all at different points in the story, because I couldn’t see which point was the closest to the action without skipping over important, dramatic scenes.

We fell down a brief rabbit hole on speed drafting and NaNoWriMo, and talked about NaNoWriMo novels that get published, and James mentioned The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is a fantastic and popular book, and you should definitely check it out.

The point is, I start at the end, and then when I have to go back and write the beginning, the cork has been popped, as it were, and I’m already writing and that makes the beginning a little easier.

James talked about starting out by writing a paragraph summary as a “sketch” before diving in. I think this is a fantastic idea; it’s in essence the loosest kind of outline that you can have and still call it an outline, but it also gets you writing in a prose/narrative format. In the end, this has the same effect of getting you writing. Once you get started, everything’s easier from there.

I don’t think we came to any good conclusions on this other than the best way to start the story is to write. And that some or all of what you write at first is going to be garbage, and that that’s OKAY. You can get rid of the garbage later, you can change it and flesh it out, or discard it entirely. All of us throw away prose, we all do. And the more comfortable you are with this idea of writing garbage, the easier starting will be.

Just do whatever you need to do to get started writing, and after that everything will be easier.



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