Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Blank Page

I am starting a new book.  Okay, I am trying to start a new book, but I keep staring at that blank (screen) page.  When a friend asked me what the hardest part of writing was, I told them it was getting that first chapter out.  Then I started thinking:  It's the first page.

No.  It's the first paragraph.

It's the first sentence.

Who am I kidding?  It's the first word.

Every time I start a new book I go crazy for days, sometimes weeks as I try to find my perfect beginning.  The way you start your book sets up the flow for the entire thing.  It either draws the reader in or repels them.  And I always hear that nagging voice in the back of my head, taunting me and saying this book will never become a reality.  At this point my mind starts playing tricks on me.  I think, "Why is this so hard?  My last book came easy."

Did it?  Not really.  Once I take an honest look back I can see that I rewrote the opening at least half a dozen times, and I didn't think I would ever finish that book either.  Eventually something came to me.  I expect that will happen this time as well.  But in the meantime, that blank screen mocks me, and I feel like pulling my hair out.

I've already made a list of possible openings.  None of them seem right.  I've tried writing a diary page from my main character.  That didn't help.  I'll keep trying, and eventually something will work.  Or not.  Come to think of it, there have been a few books that I had to give up on because nothing ever worked.  I couldn't get a firm grasp of the story.  Hope that doesn't happen this time.

So what do you do when faced with that dreaded blank page?  Any tricks you'd like to share with the class?  :)  Happy writing!


Stephanie said...

My advice would be to not try to get it perfect the first time. Just start writing something and let the story carry you. It sounds like you'll probably have a better idea of how you want the opening after you write the first chapter or something.

I know that when I start writing I just kind of start. Since the opening of a book sells it, start with something exciting if you can. Or something that will make the reader go huh? (in a good way) and keep reading. Something that will intrigue them, make them laugh, tense, smile, scared, anything. Just some type of thought or emotion that will carry them to the next page.

Think of some of your favorite books. Where did the story start? It probably didn't start with backstory or a long paragraph telling you about something that could easily be covered in conversation. It may have started with the main character doing something odd, using a power, embarassed, or in a fight. Or maybe it started with them trying to steal something like one of my favorites (The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan).

K. C. Blake said...

I'm not going to be able to write for a while. My computer crashed and I might have lost my books. Fun times.

Stephanie said...

Ah, no! That's so sad! I'm sorry! I hope everything turns out well for you!