How To Write Naked – The Fellini Montage On Fifty Shades Of Pretentious Bondage

In the beginning there was the word and the word was “In.” Your beginning may have a different word and every beginning doesn’t begin the same but every beginning begins with a first word. How important the first word is depends on the words that follow. The first word and the words that follow should not only make sense but grab the reader’s attention or slap the reader in the face or some other violent act that leaves the reader wanting more because he is tied to his chair.

The reader is only tied to his chair metaphorically if words are metaphorical ropes  or those plastic tie things that are so popular with television criminals these days and in this particular metaphor they are. Ropes, that is. I’m a bit old fashioned, but not always, mostly old fashioned about ropes versus those plastic tie things. I only mention bondage at all because it seems to be a popular topic these days.

But I don’t want to get bound up in fifty shades of why did I read this. Instead I want to talk about beginnings and how some writers start at the beginning and some start at the end and tell the story backwards. It is a common literary device known as starting at the end and telling the story backwards. It may have a technical term, but I am unaware of what it may be. Probably something like montage or cinema vérité or some other term that people toss about because they remember hearing it in a college Intro to Film class and it may have had something to do with Eisenstein or Fellini, but you weren’t even sure what it meant back then but you know using such technical film terms makes you sound just this side of a pretentious independent film snob which will impress everyone at this little art house film after party.

I haven’t been to an art house film after party but I do remember Eisenstein’s pioneering montage in the Battleship Potemkin from my college Intro to Film class like it was yesterday except that it was too many yesterdays ago to count. It’s weird that I can remember the too many yesterdays ago montage but five minutes ago is more problematic but five minutes ago didn’t involve montage. Montage may have made the difference.

But back to the original topic of this post which was or is depending on whether you are living in the past or present, beginnings. Many writers struggle in the beginning or with the beginning and sometimes they struggle in the beginning with the beginning. Sometimes the beginning is easy and the struggle comes later. I find the beginning to be the easiest part.

Take this post. I started with that first sentence and had no idea where it would lead me until I began to type. A couple of paragraphs in I thought this could be part of the naked writing series because everything needs a beginning though this series began a few posts back but every writer needs to know how to begin. So here we are, writing naked about naked beginnings.

We all come into this world naked but that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic at hand except that it is a depiction of a beginning and we were talking about beginnings. Some opening lines are simple and profound even if the profundity of the lines escapes all but the most esoteric among us. And some opening lines are a bit wishy washy – that ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ line comes to mind. Make up your mind, pick a side.

He may have picked I side. I don’t know. I didn’t read that book. I just know the opening line because it is a famous opening line. Like that Ismael line in Moby Dick. It didn’t make me want to read the rest of the book though reading the rest of the book helped me to understand why that famous coffee shop is called Starbucks and not Queequegs or Stubs.  We don’t mind saying we just spent eight dollars on a Starbucks coffee but people would look at you funny if you paid more than a couple of bucks for a Queequegs coffee. I don’t know if eight dollars is the actual price of a Starbucks coffee. I’m not a frequent customer. I’m only a customer when I travel out of my zip code by several zip codes and that doesn’t happen that often and when it does happen I get the smallest cheapest coffee and it is still at least three dollars which seems like two dollars too much.

I’m not sure what overpriced coffee has to do with beginnings except that is the way many people begin their days. I begin my days with, well, let’s just say it doesn’t involve food, that comes later. But no matter how you begin your days, you should now have a different and quite possibly better understanding of the importance of beginning and how it starts with just one word. And that word is up to you, but up doesn’t have to be the word I just meant it is your decision as to what the first word should be.

If you are still unsure, ‘the’ makes a great first word. The possibilities are boundless because despite what many think about possibilities, possibilities are not bondage fans. There are so many ways to go or begin when you begin with ‘the.’ The naked man…. or The last breath she….. or The sun rises at dawn…… ‘The’ sets the stage or at least lends a bit of definition. ‘It’ is another good beginning word. There are lots of them. Just pick one and write on which is like rock on but may or may not be musical.

Your beginning line can be short or long. I once began with a 300 word sentence. I was proud of that beginning beauty but 300 words is too much to remember to be a classic like that Ismael one. If you want that kind of Ismael memorability, then be brief in your beginning.

To begin or not to begin is no longer a question, if it ever was. Begin at the beginning or the end, it matters not. Just begin. Find a word and then another and soon they will tumble out. You’ll wonder why you ever beat yourself up over how to begin. Beginnings are easy. Endings, not so much, but it’s beginnings we are about and now you should be about yours. Write naked. It’s how we all began.

I think there was a sky in the beginning but it may have been dark like that ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ beginning line.

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24 thoughts on “How To Write Naked – The Fellini Montage On Fifty Shades Of Pretentious Bondage

  1. Wisdom and nudity. Two of my favorite things.
    Tale Of Two Cities is a great novel,and I highly recommend it. It also has a well known line near the end.- It is a far better thing I do than I have ever done.It is a far better rest I go to than I have ever known.
    And while not a book, the movie Memento is the best (and most literal) example of telling a story end to beginning.

    • Memento is a great movie. Perhaps mementoism could be the name of the literary device where one tells a tale backwards. The Burning Plain was another good example of that. I’ll have to put a Tale of Two Cities on my reading list.

  2. Bravo! I am sure this blog will help a lot of bloggers, including me, to start a post. That first word, can it be so crucial? Well, apparently yes, thanks.

  3. I do that all the time. I start with a thought and find it builds itself as I let it run freely through my crazy mind. No matter how many times I write, I’m always plagued with uncertainty. Is it good? Are people going to go, “Good, God, what was she thinking”? Do I bear too much of myself? Not enough. It’s the curse I would guess of feeling the obsessive need to put words on paper (or blogs, if you will).

    • I stopped thinking (too much) about whether readers would like what I was writing and just write what I like. It has been very freeing writing-wise.

      • I am getting much better at that myself. Sometimes I write things that I know sit on the fence but I am compelled to write them. At first I would post something and then trash it. Not often these days. It’s a nice venue to express yourself and a good group of bloggers.

        • I find my readers are amazingly supportive of my writing. It is wonderful to be part of such a great group of bloggers and readers (not all of my readers are bloggers).

    • Naked writing is all about getting bare and no worries about the typing, I sometimes can’t believe what my fingers have typed. It’s like they have a mind of their own.

    • That K8edid is such an alliterationist! But I get the coincidence. I often associate Fellini montage with my favorite of the seven deadly sins – lust.

  4. Beginning at the beginning is the only way I can write…I never know the ending until I get there. Make sense? Hmmm…maybe not, but I let the story tell itself. I’m just the typist. A fully clothed one. Most of the time. 🙂

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