Monday, August 25, 2014

Beginning: A Love/Hate Adventure -- Natalie D. Richards

 
I’m currently five weeks away from a deadline for my third book and I just can’t imagine a world where there is anything other than this book.  This bad boy has become my Neverending Story and, frankly, I'm a bit miffed that Falcor hasn't showed up with a tall, four-pump no-whip mocha.




Since my entire universe is consumed by the desperate race to the finish, thinking about beginnings for this blog was a challenge. How do I feel about beginning something new? 

Right now the idea of anything that isn’t this-book shaped sounds like sweet deliciousness.  Because this book?  Right now it's like that guy you dated way longer than you ever should have.  This book picks his nose!  He takes me to the auto-parts store and calls me Babe though I’ve repeatedly told him I don’t care for that particular endearment.  I’m pretty sure this book implied that my butt looks big in certain jeans. 

You know what, screw this book!  I want to begin a new, shiny book with great hair and a nice, steady plot-line that won’t ever leave me sobbing at two in the morning.  That book sounds great.

But, here’s a dirty little secret about me.  I kindofsortofactually hate starting books.

Now, I love the idea of starting.  You know, when this totally butt-kicking idea grabs you by the chin and proceeds to tell you that it is the most awesome idea in all of Ideatown?  And at that point, it really is.  That's the magic of writing to me, and I live for those sparks of inspiration, but it’s not what I consider the beginning.

For me, the beginning comes when I open a Word document and the idea becomes reality.  Suddenly, there’s all this pressure.  Where do I start?  Why will the reader care?  What is my main character like? (Hint: She annoys me.  Well, at some point, anyway.  It is the one thing I can count on all my characters to have in common.)

That starting pistol part is full of wonder and possibility for many writers, but I’ll admit it’s brutal for me.  I call it the “Finding My Feet” phase.  The whole book feels wobbly and slippery and sticky at the same time.  Imagine walking on a Slip-N-Slide that been stretched over a mile of marshmallows and filled with lime Jell-O.  Technically it could be cherry, or any other flavor, but you get the point.  I’m not exactly graceful.



But there is one beautiful thing about the beginning.  Eventually I do find my feet.  At some point, that new shiny idea fleshes out into something bigger than I originally conceived.  Those characters that were once names on a page become flawed and brilliant and wonderful and annoying as all crap, which makes them infinitely easier to write.  The beauty of the beginning to me is that it brings me to the part of the book I love, and that's worth all the clumsy stumbling in the world.

15 comments:

  1. Totally relate. Thank you for writing this! :)

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  2. "He takes me into the auto parts store and calls me Babe." I love that. I actually dated a guy like that. heh heh.

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  3. Aw, thanks you two! Nancy, I'm SO glad! Lots of writers seem to thrive at the start-up, so it's awesome to know I'm not alone in the world! And Jody, I'd pay nearly anything to see your face if someone called you babe. :)

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  4. "Right now it's like that guy you dated way longer than you ever should have."

    Oh god YES. Exactly.

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    1. Conservative me considered taking that bit out. So I shoved a cream-filled donut in her mouth and decided there would be someone out there who would understand. I now feel strangely triumphant. :)

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  5. "This book picks his nose! He takes me to the auto-parts store and calls me Babe though I’ve repeatedly told him I don’t care for that particular endearment. I’m pretty sure this book implied that my butt looks big in certain jeans."
    I bahaha'ed through this entire part. Can't we ALL (unfortunately) relate to "that" guy. I'm not a writer, but I've certainly felt that way about some art/design projects. There comes a point when one can't wait to kick it's annoying butt to the curb. And when that glorious moment of being able to call it DONE arrives...the dance of joy commences, complete with whooping, and possibly even confetti. Oh. Heck. Yes.

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    1. Haha! I'm so glad you got a kick out of it. And I totally think art projects have similarities to writing projects so I can see the crossover for sure! And I'm one hundred percent with you -- done is a truly beautiful word. :)

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  6. It's a dark place. The barren land. I'm...uh...really ready for a change of scenery! LOL! :)

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  7. I agree with the whole hate-the-blank-page phase. Beginnings can be painful!

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    1. They really can be. But once the blank page isn't blank, I think it's better!

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  8. I'm in this exact phase at the moment! Just finished the draft of one book, so I thought I'd try and start something new today....it's. Complete. Agony. But I'm looking forward to the moment I'll finally find my feet. It'll happen...eventually... ;)

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    1. It always does, right? I mean, that first part really can blow chunks, but once the book feels like it belongs to you, it always moves better! Good luck!

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  9. The part before the beginning, the part when it's The Best Idea Ever in my head, those few days when I know I'll start writing soon, but I'm not. quite. ready. Those are great times :-)

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    1. Oooh, I agree! Ideas are ever so much more fun when they aren't yet reality. :)

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