It’s Sabotage

Now I’m going to have that Beastie Boys song in my head forever.

One thing I’ve already taken away from my short story workshop is how much the first few paragraphs of a short story really set the stage. They set up reader expectations and provide a base point from which the story can be launched. I think on some level I knew this, but it was never concretely or with any sort of conscious awareness.

It’s also helped me a bit with thinking about my longer works. I will say it’s no secret to my friends that I struggle with my first chapters. Often they don’t “feel right” or there’s something about them that doesn’t click with the rest of my story. Now that I’m more aware of what are some really important things that a story opening does, I think that will help my first chapter writing as well.

For instance, the point where I had chosen to start the story currently codenamed Empire kept feeling wrong, although it was fun. After turning it around in my mind, I think the reason is that it’s far more goofy than the rest of the story, and though it tries to hook with action, there’s very little “stage-setting” because you’re dumped direct into action with no moment to get an idea of where that action is taking place.

And now back to the title of this post. I’m finding myself doing that self-sabotage thing again. Where I stop believing in something and let my doubts win and give up on my ideas while they’re still half-formed, half-written. I’m really excited about “Empire,” but thus far, I haven’t been able to interest any friends in the idea, and I’ll confess, the Evil Little Voice in my head has been creeping up and whispering “then why waste months writing something someone will never read?”

(Usually I hit this point somewhere around halfway into the story. Not sure why it’s so early with Empire. Maybe because I have plotted out the whole thing, so in my mind, it’s half-done? Which it isn’t. But who can explain brains?)

I can’t let the Evil Voice win. It wins too often with me, anyway.

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