Know the First Sentence

For all of you doing NaNoWriMo (or simply wanting to start a story), I wrote a piece last year giving my advice on how to prepare for it. This year, while I still agree with what all that I had suggested before, I’ve decided to take that advice and make it even simpler. So, here goes…

Whenever I sit down to write, I do so with a very simple plan of attack: know the first sentence. It might not sound like much, but it’s all I need to get me going. After that, I allow the story to come out however it wants, without any resistance or expectations (everything can be worked on later).

The best example of this would be something that happened to me while I wrote my book, Glory. I had an idea of a woman and her companion walking into a town and running into a preacher. He was going to shout at them, attack them. She was going to try to talk some sense into him.

The first sentence was: Jane and Charles came upon a small town.

While I wrote, I described her journey into the town, including the things she saw and thought. I could feel it all building up to the point in which the preacher was going to come out and meet her.

Then, to my surprise, he never came.

I kept writing and writing, waiting for that particular part to happen. When I realized that it wasn’t going to, I had the woman look over at one of the houses to see what the matter was (Not that she knew there was a problem. It was simply something that I thought might explain things to me. And it did.). Her gaze fell upon a set of eyes staring back at her.

The preacher? No.

A new character who became a major part of my book? Yes.

I won’t get too much more into the details because I don’t want to ruin the story for you (in case you had planned on reading it), but I thought it was a great example of how to start with one sentence and let the story take over. To be honest, it still amazes me the way that it happened. And it has happened like that several times since.

So, while my advice has always been for writers not to put much pressure on themselves, to make it that much easier, you should try only thinking of the first sentence and see where that takes you.

Good luck!

p.s. I should point out that the preacher had never left my mind entirely and may have even managed to get back into the story at a later point. 😉

4 thoughts on “Know the First Sentence

  1. MaryMaryWhy-U-Bugging November 6, 2013 / 11:27 am

    Michael that is excellent advice. I am on a book writing adventure. Well this will be my first official attempt. I am taking all the advice that I can get.

    • Michael McManamon November 6, 2013 / 6:50 pm

      That’s awesome! Congrats on your writing and good luck! I’m glad that I could be of some help. 🙂

  2. Gahmya November 6, 2013 / 7:16 pm

    Great advice, Michael!
    I’m excited to read Book 3 of Glory!♥

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s