Last week, I was given a “re-visioning” tip by a very successful, very generous author:
Look at your story once the first draft is done. Then, change the starting point and re-write the story.
I tried this with one of my short stories, and was intrigued to see how it changed my story, and changed it for the better. I came up with the following reasons why this worked:
1. Most pantsers (like me) write their way into their stories, figuring out the setting, the characters, and the action as we go along. So, at the revision stage, it is very helpful to clear out all the humming and hawing we do as we get into gear.
2. Sometimes, a great hook gets embedded in the story, and needs to be pulled out front at the beginning.
3. The same story can be told in many ways, from different points of view, using different voices and tenses. The idea is to figure out how best to keep the reader’s attention. Shifting a starting point often leads to a shift in the above, which might help keep the reader guessing.
4. Starting a story at the end is the oldest trick in the book, and depending on the subject matter, can bring about some fascinating results.
5. Experimenting with where to start the story can produce interesting twists and turns in the plot.
Do you ever change the starting points of your story when you revise it? If yes, would you like to add to the list ?
Interesting. I was thinking that I wouldn't be inclined to do that much work until I remembered that in one of my novels, I eventually started it at the third chapter and sliced and diced the original first chapter and sprinkled it throughout the first quarter of the story. Whatever it takes to craft a betters story, I guess.
Thanks, Rayna, will mail you!
M Pax, thanks for your comment. Total re-writes can be as rewarding as they're challenging.
I love that you like the photograph that I posed on my blog. If you drop me a line at nuts246 (at) gmail (dot) com, I would be happy to send you the original, which would be much better resolution.
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do total rewrites. I have a crit partner who usually points out where I ground the reader and the key turning points. Helps me focus on the rewrite.