Beginnings Category

Compare the First and Final Scenes

This fantastic video on Vimeo (below) from Jacob T. Swinney could be the best five minutes you’ll spend today. It shows the opening and closing scenes of famous movies, displayed side by side. I’ve written a few posts here about beginnings and at least one post about endings. But once you have your story finished, whether it’s […]

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The First 15 Pages

If you’re writing a novel or a memoir, the following exercise might be helpful. It came up recently while I was working with a Fresh Pond writer on his memoir. This writer was really trying to nail the opening chapter, and so I suggested that he select five of his favorite memoirs (published by others) and analyze the […]

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The First Sentence

Lately, I’ve become preoccupied with story beginnings. I blame a writer’s conference I went to where I had to turn in the first 250 words of a short story. I was amazed at how little I had conveyed in those 250 words. (I wrote a post about it, which you can read if you want […]

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Beginnings, the First 250 Words

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Muse & the Marketplace writers conference in Boston, organized by Grub Street. Among the many sessions I attended, one called “Literary Idol” got me thinking about beginnings. In this unconventional session, writers in the audience were invited to submit, anonymously, the first 250 words of their short […]

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