All stories start in the middle.
This is because characters imitate live people in the mind of the author. There is always a long string of events stretching back before the point of the story’s opening. You could start with the Big Bang, and the author would picture that infinitely small point quivering with energy and anticipation and work backward through the void before time to understand, to their own satisfaction, how we actually get to God saying “New universe in 3…2…1…”
This was brought home to me yet again while working on the Current Project, and, frankly, getting a whole lot of nowhere. Usually, this means I don’t know enough about what came before. This time, I thought I had it worked out, all nice, and for me, relatively neat. Convinced of this fact (it’s amazing how you can delude yourself about a story, something that is essentially an illusion), I totally missed the big, glaring question I hadn’t asked, and hadn’t tracked back to its source.
My heroine should be dead. When the story opens, she really shouldn’t be there, and she knows it. But she is there.
Time to backtrack.