The Writing Process: Ways To Begin

No stage of the writing process makes a writer doubt their ability like the beginning. The beginning is when, no matter how you start, there always seems to be a better way to do so. It is a stage that sucks you into a loop of indecision that leaves you exhausted on a blank page.

Now, there is no right or wrong way to start. It depends on your story and its priorities (what your story is about). However, to save you the time of finding what method will work for your story, we recommend the five W’s of journalism: “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” and “Why.

While you can take all five questions together and craft a good beginning, they are what the story’s entirety should worry about. Therefore, we suggest you choose the question that best addresses the object of your story idea for the beginning.

In the course of the following five Creative Writing Keys, we shall explore these questions one after the other, examining how they can be applied to solve the puzzle of story beginnings.

Beginning With “Who?

As a way to begin a story, the question of “Who” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about a person or people. In the end, every story is about people doing things somewhere, sometime for some reason. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas have the characters as their main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “Who?”

The answer to this question tells you who your characters are. It introduces you to the relationship they share.

When you have answered the question of “Who” properly, you can easily select the measures and combinations of the remaining four W’s (“What,” “Where,” “When,” and “Why”) that best emphasise the focus and priority of your story – The Characters.

HOWEVER! HOWEVER!!

Your story idea prioritises on “Who” (Characters) does not mean that you can downplay the other elements. Your characters can only become who they are and shine with original flame if you do well with other elements. This creative writing key aims to help you know where to begin, not to score the element of character as more important than the others.

EXERCISE

Make a list of five books that have character names as their titles. Check if their beginning chapters/prologues anchors on character focus.

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