Starting the novel

Some writers would argue that the worst part of writing is starting. Even Stephen King says that.

stephen-king-quoteI have to agree. That blank page waiting for words is an intimidating bastard. Even with the few words I have written here I’m finding it hard to not scrap the whole thing and move onto something else with my day. But, I’m not going to do that.

*fidgets in seat

*drinks coffee

*thinks about something else

*decides to get back to writing a blog post

One reason for not starting is that the world is full of distractions, and for most people their distractions come from their phones. With the constant beeping, chiming, push notifications, and so on, an afternoon can be wasted with little effort. Another reason may be the other gazillion responsibilities waiting for your completion. The grass needs clipping, dishes, feeding the zombie in the basement, are all screaming for attention to end the day with nothing completed on the page. Trust me, I get it. I have my own set of house monkeys (children) that love distractions.

I’m guessing the main reason, other than stuff listed above, that the page would stay blank is due to fear. I can’t count how many times I’ve had an idea, sat down to write, and completed a page of something not worth saving. This sucks for several reasons. One, it makes you feel like a bad writer because what you’ve written is shit and there is no way in hell you want to hang onto this booger. Another reason, you’ve just wasted your time producing something that makes menu reading at a sketchy restaurant sound more exciting that the words just written. You could have fed the zombie with one of the house monkeys (just kidding), or fixed the shower curtain rod that keeps falling down, and felt like you accomplished something than this gobbledygook you just wrote. Plus, this thing looks nothing like the idea in my head.

Well, maybe it looks a little like what you envisioned. Only this version on the page resembles something that likes to sit in the corner, drool on itself, and eat its boogers. Yay for first drafts!

If I create something like this it’s a sign that I haven’t fully developed how I should have handled creating this creature. I probably had an idea then thought I could hammer out a story because the idea seemed so pure and good in my mind. In my experience, it’s never this easy and I have only myself to blame. I’m able to write like a pantser, but not unless I’ve developed the main character and a little of the plot. I don’t have to have everything, but I need to have something to build on. Maybe the idea isn’t the resolution of the story, or the climax. Maybe the idea for the story is expressing the concept in your head over the course of thousands of words.

A book I’m working on deals with death. The main character is a grim reaper. She’s not very sure of herself, and is new to the job. Writing this story allowed me to explore ideas and thoughts I had about death. Death was the idea, but it’s not the story. Dying isn’t just about someone passing on, but life, and what is left behind whether they are things, memories, influences, and so on. It opened up a wide array of possibilities and discussions so that future books could be planned off of concepts I did not get to explore in the current novel.

None of that would have been possible if I had not started typing the first words of the story. You just have to do it. With the help of a rough (and somewhat lacking) outline, my creation wasn’t drooling in the corner. It may still pick it’s nose from time to time, but with some editing I think it could shape up to something pretty good.

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