This week, we're going back to the beginning.
UHM started as a short story. I turned the story into Chapter One. It later became Chapter Two. Then it because Chapter One again but this time following a Prologue.(Now, don't everyone gang up on me about having a Prologue. I have no idea if it will stay or go or grow wings and fly away.)
After working on the ms for awhile, I got stuck. So, I switched gears and worked on writing backstory for some of the main characters but I wrote them as actual scenes...which grew into chapters…chapters I really, really like and want to use as actual chapters, not as flashbacks, etc. (By the way, I've also considered using those backstory chapters as supplemental stories for when - notice I didn't say if! - I get the novel/novella out in the world.)
In UHM, the story starts twenty years ago with the antagonist's arrival and the aftermath of that moment (which by the way, is creepy and gross, and I love it!) Now, the novel could easily start there - and with a bang! - but it originally started twenty years later with the arrival of the protagonist and her disruption of the status quo which triggers all kinds of bad stuff.
The prevailing wisdom is to start the novel in media res, but what if the backstory starts that way, too? And, if that's the case, then maybe the backstory isn't backstory after all? And, of course, maybe I just need to stop worrying about all of this right now and keep writing?
As a writer, how do you handle beginnings? Backstory? As a reader, do you like to know things the protagonist doesn't? (No, don't trust your brother - he's a liar! Yes, believe what the homeless woman is saying - she's not crazy after all!) Or do you prefer to discover things along the with protagonist? (Gasp! Her spouse is really an alien from outer space! No! His client, who is also his best friend, really is guilty of blackmail and murder!)