Beth Hautala

Children's Author


And Now to Begin (and begin and begin again)

I love beginnings. When I'm working on a story, they are my favorite parts. Everything is fresh and new, the ideas are rampant, keeping me up at night, and I know where the story is going. In the beginning I can see

This generally continues for the first third of whatever project I'm working on. I have lots of great first-thirds lying around. Not unpredictably, this seems to be a trend for me in a great many things—not just writing, so at least it's nice to know I'm consistent. 


No book is ever finished this way. And I am realizing that it's not the process of finishing I struggle with, instead it's a fear of stagnancy. Staleness. The trite. And so I avoid even the mere possibility of this when the ideas cease to keep me up at night. —When my characters quiet down. —When writing becomes work

So, I'm setting out to try something new this year.

My current WIP is about half-way written (further than a third!!!) but for the sake of its completion, I've decided to pretend it's only one-third complete. The First Part. And today I get to begin again. Not somewhere in the middle with characters that are getting weary of one another, but at the beginning of Part Two, having the benefit of knowing my characters (or at least being pretty familiar with them) and their tendencies. The plot may be a wee-bit fuzzy in places, but I believe in this project, and I know the details will sort themselves out. And then in a few thousand more words, I'll complete the arc of Part Two and begin again at Part Three. Whether or not I actually keep the "parts" in the finished project is debatable. For now they are merely a tool to help me process through the story—a key to help me keep opening doors. I'm all about using tools.

So you tell me, what writing goals have you set (or reset) for yourself this year? Are you shifting perspectives, changing tactics, or simply keeping on keeping on? What tools are you using to help you do so? Plotting a story? This editorial and plot checklist tool is one of my favorites. I've used it to plot the entirety of my current WIP and I'll be using it again to plot out its parts. Have any useful tips, tricks, or tools you care to share? I'd love to hear about them!