Writing the First Paragraph

Thursday, August 15, 2013 K.Z. Freeman 2 Comments

I'm somewhat annoying. Or rather, my mind is. Allow me to explain...

I love writing. I enjoy doing it and enjoy reading my own work when I feel like I've edited it down to something resembling proper (yeah right) form. However... there's something about the beast that is the first paragraph that always irks me. No matter how many times I read it, write it, reread it and rewrite it, it's never perfect. It always feels like there's something missing and I find myself perpetual hunting for a certain mythological creature called the perfect opening. I realize there's damn well no such thing, but I can't be the only one who has ever closed a book never to read it again, just because I didn't like the first few sentences??

Maybe it's because every time I see the word document again, those first lines are always there, staring me in the face. Challenge accepted! So I think about how to change them. Then consider rewriting them. Then doing it or staring at myself doing it yelling for me to stop. Then I'm probably taking a frustrated break and considering placing my hands in a fire so I could no longer change anything even if I wanted to...

The thing is, I always know there are better ways to start a book than what I'd written down, but by the time that feeling sets in, I already like what I've done enough not to want and change it (as it feels almost like I'm about to rearrange the face of my own kid with a sledgehammer), or I hate it enough to want to change it simply out of spite, out of sheer malice and contempt.

I'm currently writing something I've been wanting to write for a year but was bogged down by other projects, and while I've written roughly half by now, I always return to those first few sentences and can just feel my hairs slowly going greyer each time I do it.

As it is, I would love to hear someone else's (anyone's) opinion about this and how one might go beating the crap out of those first few sentences.


  1. Leave them to rot and then cry when you read them a month later.