I ingested Chapter Four this morning and the gist is:  don’t be scared of starting to write.  It also addresses the question how to start writing. 

I’ve had the terror, I’m sure most writers have had it.  You stare at that pristine white page on your computer screen or in your notebook and you think to yourself:  What I’m about to write has to be amazing.  Insighful.  Pullitzer prize winning stuff.  I don’t waste my time being mundane, by writing normal stuff. Be fantastic all the time.  Get that opening sentence right the first time round.

Wrong!

I forget who said it, but I recall reading it over at the Deadline Dames but basically, you have to give yourself permission to suck.

Very few people – unless you are a savant, probably – get to sit down and write this amazing opus the very first time around.  And at first draft it was perfect and it got an agent and sold.  Personally I think this is how non-writers think writers work.  They do not realise that there are several drafts of the same novel.  I have a friend who has gone through 13 drafts of the same novel.  13!

So yes, start somewhere.  Write down a character description.  Or write a background for your character / where they live/ go to school / who their friends are / what their hobbies are.  Just sort of doodle on the page if you don’t have a “concrete” way to start.  Also, don’t agonise over that first line.  Put anything down…you can always change it later.  Because you are the boss.  Don’t forget that!

Note:  The picture I’ve used above is from a website called Contextual Bias – and I’m linking to the article it came from because randomly, it ties in with what I’ve written here.  This weird synchronicity happens sometimes – I take it as a sign that the ‘Verse is smiling on a particular endeavour.

4 thoughts on “4. In the beginning there was the “word”

  1. Starting out is the worst, but I agree: if you let yourself suck and just push ahead, it’s the best way to get a draft done. Just go for it! Good luck!

  2. I wish I only had that problem when the page is blank!

    Middle of the page, end of the page. It’s all terrifying!

  3. I quite like the adrenaline when it hits home hard, which it does at the beginning of every sentence and the end of every paragraph. In the beginning, I wrote chapters that were thousands and thousands of words long, just so I didn’t have to face the adrenaline rush at the start of a new one.

    On the whole, though, I like the writing… It’s the selling I have trouble with!

    Oh… And, Moleskins are the solution to almost everything.

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