Let’s start at the end

I had run up against a brick wall in the rewrite of my current book, which is autobiographical.

That isn’t due to lack of material – I’ve more than enough of that; but so far I’ve made twelve different starts and am not happy with any of them. The opening chapter of this book is the trickiest part of all because I don’t really know myself where it started from. I’ve wrestled and wrangled and wracked my brains for two weeks and made no progress.

My lovely agent, mentor and friend Maggie Noach, who died six years ago, tragically young and far too soon, knew everything there was to know about writers and writing, and while I was shuffling words and paragraphs around this morning I recalled something she had said long ago when I was stuck on a manuscript.

“You don’t have to write a book in sequence, you know. You can start anywhere – at the end, or in the middle. First write the parts that come easily, and go back to the others later. Once you’ve written them all, just put them into order.”

Being a linear thinker rather than somebody who thinks “outside the box”, that had never occurred to me, and I’d forgotten all about it.

I think Maggie must have been looking down this morning and sent a message.

Thanks, Maggie. I’ve just written the last line and am now moving to the middle. 🙂

Maggie’s obituary

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5 thoughts on “Let’s start at the end

  1. Ah, so it’s the 13th start that’s the right one then. I write one or two Paris ‘billets’ or chronicles as I call them each day and am constantly faced with the same problem of how to start, middle and end the darn things. I have a great technique for starting though, which came to me all on my own. I realised that I begin most of my thoughts with ‘I’. How narcissistic is that? Just check out this message for proof! So now I don’t. I hardly ever start a post with ‘I’, and the inspiration seems to come! It’s different for a book, of course, but just thought I’d share that.

    • 🙂 You are so right, Sab. “I” think it is natural to start blogs, comments, etc. with “I”, but “I” am aware that it doesn’t read well. “I” do try to remember to start posts, comments, Tweets without using “I”. Funnily enough, none of the twelve attempts did actually start with “I”. Maybe that’s where “I”‘ve gone wrong. 😀

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