Plato once said that “the most important part of a work is the beginning.”
Planning is key.
I think for most of us mere mortals, this philosophy holds true. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way – through humbling failure. I have always hated the process of outlining, but I understand now that it is an evil that must be endured – for the greater good of humanity. At the same time, I think that the spirit of Plato’s words can be applied directly to the physical beginning of a work: the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first chapter. They set the tone for the entire body of work.
A few months ago, I accepted that my WIP needed a major overhaul. To do that, I had to suck it up and draft an outline.
It was painful.
It gave me a nasty rash.
It took three tries to get it right, and even now, I think “right” might be an overly generous description.
There’s only one problem.
I didn’t know where my story – Anna’s story – begins.
I know where she’s going. I know why she’s going. I know, for the most part, how she is going to get there. I just don’t know where she begins her journey.
That’s a pretty significant problem, eh? It sort of reminds me of the third Indian Jones movie – The Last Crusade. You know, the one where the senior Dr. Jones has spent a lifetime plotting a map that will lead him to the Holy Grail, only to fail to figure out where his quest will begin?
That’s where I am at right now.
At the beginning.