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Blocked Beginnings

After I completed a chapter in my novel the other day,  I opened to my outline and reviewed what came next.  Once I worked out all the details, I sat in front of my computer and tried to write.  Unfortunately, despite having all the information in front of me,  I could not figure out how to begin the chapter.  I'd compose a sentence, backspace through it, try again, backspace, try again---Well, you get where I'm coming from, I could not start the paragraph to save my life. 

As I puzzled over this block, it occurred to me that beginnings had been an ongoing problem.  I've devoted days to first paragraphs. They are the most important part of the chapter, draw the readers in and set the tone for what is to come.  Nothing is worse than having to sift through loads of unnecessary exposition just to get to the point.  This said, I want to ensure that my beginning are focused and concise. Unfortunately, achieving this goal is easier said than done. 

Many experts advise writers to push through mental blocks, but each time I've tried, the result is drivel.  I'd rather get it right the first time.  This way I won't have to duplicate effort.  Needless to say, it would be a relief if I could figure out how to overcome my problem.

Do any of you have the answer?  If so, I'd be interested to know what it is.  Are there phases in the writing process that stilt you?  How do you overcome those obstacles?   Until next time, happy writing.  


  1. I'm afraid I don't have any great answers. Usually I just push through until I get to something that feels right. No deleting and rewriting until I've reached my word goal for the day. Maybe that's the trick?

  2. I definitely feel your pain on this one. When it comes to first drafts though, I find that it's easier to just let some parts become mush--almost like stream of conscious drivel-- where I will explain what I want to accomplish in that sentence/paragraph.

    Like, if I can't figure out how to open the scene, it might say something like "At this point the MC is thinking about WHATEVER and feeling WHATEVER, and we need to understand that this means WHATEVER." That way, I don't waste time being stuck, and most likely, as I keep on writing I'll get all caught up in the story and the moment that those missing words come to me.

    Maybe that's not helpful! But good luck either way!

  3. Sorry to hear you're having a rough time. Sometimes when I am feeling blocked I just push through, even though I know I may have to rewrite that part, at least it's a start. Then you can keep moving along instead of standing still.

  4. I get "blocked" sometimes when I approach an especially emotionally charged scene. I just have to be in the right frame of mind to attack it, and although it may take awhile, I'll eventually get through it.

  5. Beginnings are hard whether they are the beginning of a book, or the beginning of a scene, or the beginning of a chapter. I can spend forever on them. So, usually, I just make myself type whatever, with the knowledge that I will make it better later. :)


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