Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Pains of Getting Started

Getting started is always the hard bit. I sit there with my Outline, a blank sheet of paper and a pen, and try to make the story appear on the paper. There are few things more intimidating than a blank piece of paper I have to fill with something halfway coherent.

And that first sentence is so important. I need to start the story to get rid of the sea of whiteness but I also need to make that first sentence a good one. While any part of a story including the first line can be rewritten in the edits it's still important to at least get the idea of a hook into that first line. I usually make three or four false starts with any story before I actually manage to start writing.

Once I have ink on paper and the first paragraph or two written it gets easier and writing speeds up. But I have another problem with first drafts - I'm painfully aware how badly I'm writing. I once asked a friend why my first drafts were so bad they made me cringe. She said 'because they're first drafts'. Another friend expressed the same sentiment last night when I was bewailing how badly I was writing to them. They're right of course. With a few exceptions all writers write terrible first drafts - and the ones who don't are rarer than the ones who think they don't. Elegance and flow comes in the rewrite - hopefully anyway.

The reason I mention all this is because I've been battling to start "The Opening" since Sunday and it's taken until today to really get started. I finally have the first two to three hundred words written. I haven't counted them but I know roughly how many words I write in the space I've filled. It's a slow start but should pick up momentum over the next few days and with the bank holiday weekend ahead I'm hoping I can get the first draft written and typed in by the end of May and start on the Outlines I want to have done by the end of June. The sooner it's written the sooner it can be left to brew before I embark on the rewrite.

So there's a brief summary of where my writing projects stand as of today. :-)