Starting a Story Too Late

by Lori, @lorisizemore on 05.29.2015

in writing

too late clockI’ve recently been puzzling over a story that seemed to have everything going for it… and it just faltered. I’d written a hundred pages and blah, boring, and the heroine was just bitchy. It wasn’t working. Then I realized I started the story too late. We’ve all heard the warnings about starting a story too soon, but this was different. All the good, clicky stuff happened before the story started. And I just figured, hey, great backstory. Except it should’ve been story.

I kept playing with it in my mind, turning it around, and I would always come back to what if I wrote about the before? And then I decided that’s how you make a story dull, because the story starts when the action starts. Except, obviously, actions happen in a backstory, right? I felt like the serpent eating its tail.

I sort of wondered, is this a common problem? Do other people make this mistake?

If you open the window too early, your readers have to drum their mental fingers waiting for the action to start. Open the window too late, and you’ll find yourself desperately filling in with flashbacks and infodumps.

caroclarke.com

But dumping is what I did–what I had to do. The story didn’t make sense without that info. I mean, a tried to dole it out slowly and hide it in conversation, but a dump is a dump.

That story has gone from a benched story to a to-be-written one. At least, once I figure out how to change those first 100 pages. Anyone else got battle scars like these? Have you ever started too soon or too late?

siglori

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Writing Through the Pain

by Lori, @lorisizemore on 05.22.2015

in life

lifeI’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in the last three months. In February, one of my friends since childhood was brutally murdered. In March, my grandfather passed away. And last week, my mother-in-law died from a sudden illness.

I am exhausted. I don’t mean that to sound mean, like, “Oh, hey, people dying is very inconvenient for me.” I just feel like I’ve walked through an emotional mine-field. And I have written. I know I have, because since January, I’ve kept a small calendar in which I put a star on every day that I write. I’ve missed maybe four days a month, on average, since the beginning of they year.

I’m proud of that. Like, maybe I walked through an emotional mind-field juggling chain saws. Unfortunately, I had nothing else to write about on the blog except, “Wow, life is hard sometimes.” But, I’m here. I’m surviving. And I’m writing.

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Revisited: The Importance of Pre-Writing

05.15.2015
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Then 12.19.08 The Importance of Pre-Writing I tried looking at pictures. Incidentally, Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.  So I bought a graph paper pad and I just drew the dance studio/apartment in no time.  I then described the way the rooms looked.  I included whoever’s viewpoint popped into my head, because different people see different […]

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5 Things: Thanks, Mom

05.08.2015
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In honor of Mother’s Day (hi, mom!), I thought I’d throw down five things my mom was totally right about. I will have a child just like me. I have three girls. In some tortuous way, they are each like me. Sometimes it’s an eye roll, sometimes a quippy retort I simply can’t rebut, and […]

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I’m That Mom

05.01.2015
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This morning, my daughter walked around the house, in the aimless way they look for something except they expect you’ll pull it from behind your back and save them the trouble. She was supposed to wear her school shirt today. Literally, everyone else will be wearing theirs. But, she went in the outfit she could find, […]

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The Saga of Susan and Michael

04.24.2015
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My youngest kid has an active imagination. And she’s more often than not got a quippy comeback for everything. Every. Thing. So, allow me to introduce her lizard/dolphin family (The dolphins are the adoptive parents of Susan and Brenda). What’s amusing to me is that this isn’t a one time thing. They have been Susan, […]

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DAfRN: House of Cards (Novel)

04.17.2015
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3. There’s this thing called age-appropriateness. No rule is true in every case, but if someone was pushing four decades when you were born, it’s got to make you wonder what you have in common. For example, my husband and I both grew up in the 80s. So when we run out of things to talk about, we can always rehash old Dukes of Hazard and A-Team episodes.

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House of Cards & Anti-heroes

04.10.2015

If you’re anything like me and most of the planet, you binge-watched House of Cards on Netflix when they debuted the entire season (like they do) in February. Confession: I’ve watched Seasons 1 and 2 three times. Once for each new season because this is a show you have to pay attention to. The smallest […]

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DAfRN: Party Girl

04.06.2015
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This week, I finished Party Girl by Rachel Hollis. It’s true stories of the author’s experiences incorporated into fiction (like The Devil Wears Prada). Dating Advice: Party Girl Don’t bounce between boys (or girls) like a ping-pong ball. It’s just never attractive when someone only likes another someone when the third someone is persona non grata. […]

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Master Tool for Learning Story Structure

03.27.2015
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Clearly, structure is something we all want to learn about. It’s one of my favorite topics. Structure is the skeleton on which our entire story hangs. In light of that, I wanted to share the most awesome resource I found.

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