The “Beginning” Lie (Part I)

I hate to break it to you right after the five long weeks I took to share with you the five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and Why) you can explore to begin writing your story. There is no such thing as a beginning to storytelling.

Yes! I’ve been lying to you all along.

Come to think of it, is there really a beginning to any story when even the dead end of all beginnings also assumes the existence of a character that predates the said beginning?

The hoax about beginnings occurred to me a few weeks ago while sharing ideas with a colleague on the spin-off series exploring the genesis of her latest fantasy series, Age Of The Anathema. I found that no matter how far behind we stretched into the series, there always seems to be a vague pre-story lying even farther behind.

I found that the idea of beginnings was a mirage. When I chase it down to where I thought it pooled, it jumps ahead into a dim section of stale history.

So, there is no beginning. The events of the last few weeks about storytelling beginnings were all a lie… But that’s only if your thoughts strayed to consider our conversations from this unfortunate perspective. Yeah, I lied to you, or I could be telling the truth.

You see, the point of today’s creative writing key is to call out this likely misunderstanding that you could have about the topic of how to begin writing your story.

When we talk about beginnings, we refer to the point at which the telling begins, not necessarily the genesis of the story. In the context of storytelling, the genesis and the beginning of your story mean two different things. While genesis is obsessed with finding the history, beginnings worry about What the first words of your story shall tell. Or about Whom they shall tell. Or about Where they tell. Or about When in time they tell. Or about Why they tell.

All things considered, I didn’t lie to you about how you could begin your story. Everything I told you only becomes a lie if the concept of Beginning and Genesis means the same thing to you.

So, I take back my words, there is a beginning to all storytelling. The pre-story histories are important to provide the backstory and rationale for the characters’ choices and actions.

However, I think there is no such thing as Genesis. And if there is, it’s the part of a story that can’t be told by man but God. For he alone knows what it means to exist without having begun. The idea of genesis is an idea of stories that predate time, and no man tells a story without running on the wheels of time. God is not man. Fortunately he was called an author somewhere in the Bible. But even his genesis story started with the creation of time and not the timeless age from which he emerged.

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