Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

Story Life: Finding The Right Intro

I didn’t finish any of the books I’m reading this month, so I’m going to talk about writing instead. ^_^

So, the story I’m calling the current project has been a work-in-progress for a while. Sometimes, for fun, as part of my general writing process, I mess around and write a potential opening scene. It helps me get a feel for the characters and their voices and the world. Sometimes I get to keep this. Most times I don’t.

For the current project, it was great for getting into the MC’s head and finding her voice and getting used to her personality, because she’s a strange one, but what I wrote doesn’t make sense for the story. It’s creepy and fun, but like, why would she actually do that? She wouldn’t. And I had to write SEVERAL different versions of that same opening before I got that it wasn’t working.

And how did I finally figure it out, you ask? 😛

I kept taking a wrong turn after chapter one, and most times DURING chapter one, because it took a few years to get past chapter one. No matter what I did, I always ended up running into a wall or stalling. I’ve had a few problems with getting this story off the ground level, but even after I got the backstory and other elements straight at long last, I was still running into that wall.

I had a flash of “you need to start as close to her getting to that haunted house as possible without that actually happening on page one,” but I kind of brushed it off, because all this other stuff I was doing was “fun” and “cool.” Then I watched The Conjuring, because a coworker kept talking about it, and I was like, “Omg, I need to get that haunted house as quickly as possible.” Haha.

And over the next week, I started seeing how I could start this story in a way that’s both cool AND makes sense.

I do want to note that while I’ve messed with this story off and on for some 7 years or more, I have done a lot of other stuff in the meantime. I’m not a fan of working on one story for a thousand years and never finishing it. And I also want to note that I’ve never ever made it to the 10k mark in any iteration of this story. In fact, the last time I tried to work on this, I made to 7800 and that’s the farthest I’d ever gotten. I just couldn’t ever shake the feeling that I what I was doing didn’t make sense for the character or the story.

Like, there are so many ways to be creepy and call her credibility into question, and there are so many ways to do that in a way that makes sense.

Plus, it’s not like I’ve never had to redo my intro before. I usually have to redo the intro. That’s the actual standard, but you know how it is! The intro is perfect one time, and all of sudden I want it to happen ALL the time. And surprisingly, no matter how many times I tried to start this current story, I was willing to try again. And again. And again, because that’s how stuck on this I am. Which is great, because I have a long list of stories that wouldn’t and didn’t make it past even two attempts like this one has.

I did have to force myself to start from complete scratch though, because I was having tonal issues and also having trouble letting go of the “cool and fun” stuff that I had done before. Sometimes it’s just necessary to start from complete scratch with a completely blank screen again, especially when doing rewrites. I’ve run into this issue so many times, I don’t know why I bother trying to keep anything anymore. It doesn’t save me time when I have to keep starting over.

There’s no deadline, of course, and I’ve barely done anything, but I still wanted to talk about it. ^_^


  • A.S. Akkalon

    First scenes are hard. Part of my editing process is figuring out where to start the story, and it’s almost never where I started it the first time. Then I have to introduce the main character in character, set the tone, foreshadow the conflict… Yep, first scenes are hard.

    • Krystal Jane

      Even when I start in the right place without a ton of fuss, I usually have to tweak something in those opening chapters that no longer makes sense or something that’s out of character.

    • Krystal Jane

      I love when things pour out on their own! I feel like when I get the opening right, the rest of the book is easier? Something else to fun to analyze, to see if that’s actually true for me or not. Ha.

  • Thea Landen

    I would say “Why not start there on Page One?”, but I’m sure you have your reasons! I usually do okay with intros and endings; it’s all the stuff in the middle where I sometimes run into trouble….

    • Krystal Jane

      It’s kind of hilarious that I hardly ever worry about the middle. I’m tempted to try starting at the haunted house on page one. That’s the next step if this doesn’t work. Lol!

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