How to Start

“Whatever the story is about, it is something that is of interest to human beings because it amplifies some aspect of what it means to be living.” I lifted this sentence off of a website for writers (were I more adept at this, I’d provide the link here – one day!) and simple as it is, I find it a helpful beacon as I swim around trying to re-start my book.

Beginnings: how can I hook you, reader? What is my story? Why did I write it? What do I want the reader to take away from it?  Why am I so stumped on these questions when they are so fundamental and I have hundreds of pages of ‘book’?Are the answers in what I have written already? Or are they still to be answered? My brilliant sister gently guides me with these questions. For weeks I have been juggling different parts of already written chapters — to start here? or here? cutting and pasting in the hope that the new combination will make my story sing.  But it doesn’t yet. Not yet.

What began as an exorcism of anger and grief became a hopeful testimony of love and determination that my daughter’s life be better than mine, and that my life, be better than before.  And it is.  I could leave it at that, but after working in the book business for more than a decade, I might as well shoot for those dusty shelves myself.  And perhaps one day my tale will serve as someone else’s beacon of light.

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