Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Beginning

There are quite a few things in this world that can really make me sweat with nerves. Public speaking is one of them. And shopping when I'm having a "fat" day. Oh, and let's not forget visits to the gynaecologist. Eek! But the one thing that can really turn me into a trembling, itching wreck is the beginning--starting the WIP.

Here's how it goes for me: An idea for a new book usually starts to swirl around my mind as I come to the end of the book I'm working on. The new idea continues to grow and characters bloom in my head, desperate to be put down on paper, to be brought to life. I let the idea sit until I've edited my current WIP and sent it to my editor. Once my time is free to start working on a new book, I open a blank document, name it something random (titles don't come to me till the very end) and then I sit in front of my computer and start to feel sick.

I shut down my computer and go for a walk. And then I head back into my office and stare mindlessly at the black computer screen. My palms start to sweat. An itch crawls over my skin. My head starts to spin. What if it doesn't work out? What if the new book will suck? What if I'll end up hating my characters? What if I spend 6 months writing the darn thing and no editor wants it????

It's a scary place. The new WIP intimidates me more than any school teacher ever did. I get a glass of water and force myself to sit down at my desk. With a shaking finger, I turn the computer on. And then I open the document. I draw in a deep breath and write 1 word. And a 2nd. Soon I've written an entire sentence. I begin to believe in myself again, I can do this! By bedtime, I've written my quota for the day. I know my characters. I like them. And I know their story. The world starts to feel like a safe place again. And when I get up the next morning, sitting down at the computer isn't as difficult as it was yesterday. I've beaten the fear and it feels good!

As I write this post, I have a blank document open beside it. The new WIP is in my head, I just need to get it written. The dread is twisting my stomach but I know I'll get through it. Just need to write the first word and I'll be okay.

If I could just think of what the first word will be...

Wish me luck guys! And I hope you all have a much easier writing time today.


Coming Soon from Ellora's Cave - Cyr's Revenge
Available Now from Liquid Silver- His Lying Eyes
Available Now from Loose Id - Beauty and the Beasts



Anny Cook said...

I use jumpstarts. That's a short (less than two page) random scene with the characters. Not the beginning. Not the end. Just a random scene to see if I like the characters or not.

Two pages isn't that much invested. And about two-thirds of my jumpstarts end up as finished books.

Ava Rose Johnson said...

Great tip, Anny, I'll definitely try that. Thanks!

Fran Lee's Romance Blog said...

Ava! You know, I can never pick out a title until I get waaaay into the WIP, either. I have dozens of finished novels simply titled "Novel A" or "Novel abcd". :P Glad to know I am not the only one who does that. With me, I sometimes don't even have a character sorted out. I just sit down and start writing whatever comes to mind. Like I said...channeling instead of writing.

Julia Barrett said...

Remember, it's just between you and your computer screen. There's nobody looking over your shoulder. Nobody's judging. Be in the here and now and the work will take care of itself. How's that for the philosophy of writing?!?

Marianne Stephens said...

I always try to start with dialogue. I want to grab the reader's attention right away...I hope!
Have fun with your new WIP!

Fiona Jayde said...

I tend to have the first line already in my head when I start, so it grounds me just a bit.

My first drafts are always "word salad" - I go for word count and type anything and everything comes to me. I sweat over the first revision, but at least there's no staring at an empty page:)

jean hart stewart said...

Hope that first word is now written after all the good comments. I'm just the opposite. I write about twenty pages quite fast and then have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Isn't writing fun???

Rebecca Airies said...

The start off scene is what usually gives me a little trouble. Like Fran, my WIP are usually named later in the process. Or they get a name that fits at the start and then it changes.