Friday, August 22, 2014

Once upon a time (Patty Blount)

All this month, we're blogging about beginnings.

I may be insane but I truly love the beginning of a new story. The blank page always makes me tingle. What will I fill it with? Will it be mystery, romance, contemporary or futuristic? The blank page makes me feel omnipotent.

I've never done a scientific study but I wonder if that blank page tingle is what makes us writers? I know many people who despise the empty page with its cursor in the corner demanding words with each blink like a child in the grip of a tantrum.

"Type. Type. Type.Type."
"Now. Now. Now. Now."

For them, the blank page is a stage, the blinking cursor a spotlight, and potential readers an audience armed with rotten food to toss.

For me, that anxiety sets in somewhere around the middle of a story. At that point, the shine of that new idea, that new story, wears away and doubts creep back in. Is this good enough? Am I good enough? Starting a new story is easy; finishing one?

Now that's scary because as it turns out, finishing the writing is the beginning of a new process, a new adventure -- releasing a book. Letting it go, out into the wild, where readers will love it or hate it or sometimes both, and you wish you can take it back, rock it and wipe away its tears (which are really your tears) but you can't. So I play games with myself. When I get stuck, when the doubts overpower me, I pretend I'm starting over. A new blank page. A new beginning. I write scenes that may never be seen by eyes besides mine. I put characters in ridiculous situations ("What would L. do if he were a contestant on a game show?" or "What if L.'s entire life were an episode of The X-Files?") and see what comes out of it.

Usually, these little games spark something in the main thread I can fix or improve and then I'm back on course.

Beginnings are full of hope and possibility and excitement. By treating every aspect of writing a book as a beginning, I keep that hope and potential and excitement going because if I'm not feeling those things, how will my readers?


  1. I love the beginning, too. Middles and endings are NEVER as exciting as the beginning.

  2. Love your positive attitude about beginnings. Really need to get better about embracing them myself!

  3. I like the game you play when you get stuck. That's something I'll have to try. Great post!