Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blank Page Syndrome

'You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair at the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.'
Stephen King: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000

You've got to just love Stephen King. This quote is exactly how I'm feeling at the moment, a little nervous and excited, but mostly I'm staring at the blank page.

Starting a new novel might seem all well and good, after all, don't I have a story and a character? Hey, I even have a title for the novel (and for me, that's probably the hardest thing I've got to decide on). But, how do I start the story? 

The beginning has to jump off the page and grab the reader's attention. I don't know which is harder, the beginning or the ending, both have to leave an impression with the reader or they will give up (I've known several books that I've started to read but lost interest by chapter three... I'm going to get around to finishing them sometime).

The best time I've been given about beginnings is that the story is best told in the midst of the action, even if you have to write and then cut a couple of chapters before chapter one actually starts. There is only one thing that helps when it comes to beginning a novel, and that's to start. Hey, a novel will never be written unless you put words on that blank page and get started. 

So, how do you approach starting a new novel? 

I guess I'm going to approach mine by writing it.


Kerri Cuev said...

First chapter woes...yup..you got it lol! For me I just write and usually go back a million (ok maybe a zillion) times to change it. My new WIP I actually like my fist chap and don't want to change it, weird! Guess it just depends. Also a good brainstorming session helps for me :)

Good luck and happy writing!

Anonymous said...

The beginning is the most difficult for me. So long as I keep telling myself the beginning will change a million times, I tend to do alright. But, man, writing the first sentence is the hardest.

Maybe I should start with action...

Unknown said...

@Kerri - a good brainstorming session is always good, it also gives you a lot of ideas to work with.

@Abby - Yep, I'm so with you for the first sentence, it has to be just perfect. And, I always love starting with action.

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