I knew I wasn’t John McPhee.
I have no idea what my first sentence is going to be, or the last. The MMP-1 is taking shape from the middle section outward. Its shape is an hourglass.
At this point, I’m not sure what I have said about it here and what has been in comments at the spring writing group’s sites, but sometime in January, I believe, I meant to write 3-4 sentences to place-hold an idea for later and wound up with nearly 900 words. I sat with them for awhile, and decided they were the center section of MMP-1. Knowing that, I knew what would be in the first part of MMP-1, and what would be in the third part.
Then I took a wild guess at proportions. The middle section looked like being 3-5 paragraphs, so let’s just say 3 paragraphs each of introduction and conclusion, and 12 paragraphs each of parts I and III. I listed the topics that seemed to belong in parts I and III, winding up with 10 for one and 11 for the other. I wrote topic sentences for each topic, a few here, a few there.
So now I have an outline with a well-developed center section, which I gave to a real-life reader yesterday. It’s possible that some paragraphs will subdivide or combine in the process of writing, but I’m used to that, and I am happy with the frame I have constructed. I think this will work well.
Anyway, work on this has been one reason I haven’t been posting much lately. I’ve been very focused on writing, even though most of the work has been thinking and I have little to report in the way of word count. Writing 3-4 sentences on a good day doesn’t sound like a lot. But if they’re the right sentences, they get me a long way.
I’d like to know what the intro and conclusion will look like, but since this piece has grown from the middle, I figure the opening and closing will be the last things I write, this time.
As McPhee says, though, every piece is new; there’s no square 2, just square 1 squared and cubed, so maybe someday I will write an essay that starts from its first sentence.