Friday, April 18, 2008

Diving In . . .

You might think that writing gets easier after time.  You might think that a woman who is beginning her 113th book  would find it easy to sit down at the computer and dive into the novel she's been plotting and researching for several weeks.  

You'd be wrong.  

It was far easier to jump in during my younger days, when I didn't know what I was doing. But now I realize how important that first line, first page, and first chapter are.  What voice do I use? What POV character?  What tense?  The first chapter sets the tone, the voice, the genre, and the mood for the entire book, so it's of crucial importance.  
And the first sentence!  I could spent a week obsessing over the sentence that will either hook or repel a reader. 

In the old days, I used to jump in and flail happily around, supported by useless actions and bulky adverbs.  Now I know that to swim well, the prose should be unencumbered.  Now I also know about the currents and undertows.  I know that parts of the story can be exhausting, and truths revealed can be painful and soul-searing. I know that the very act of putting on one's bathing suit to GO swimming is an act of self-revelation not for the faint of heart.  

And so for the last couple of days I have been happy to do anything BUT jump into the story that must be started soon.  I have written zillions of emails, worked on my blog, planned writers' conferences, and talked with friends on the phone. I have played with computer programs and thought about cleaning out the closet.  I have Googled more trivial topics than you can imagine, and I have selected a half dozen quotes that might make a good epigraph for the story. And yes, I have watched movies.  Great, good, and pitiful.  

But about an hour ago, I put a toe into the water, then slid in.  It took me a while, but I think I'm finally finding my stroke.  

Another book, another workout, another adventure.  All due to end by September first.  

Want to come along for another one? 



Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

Love this. You can do it -- you always do!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I wouldn't have believed it, a year ago, but I really appreciate your honesty :)

Mocha with Linda said...

You bet I'm coming along!!

Love hearing your angst (although I'm sorry you flail). But it does make sense. Knowing how I can obsess over what I write on my blog, I can only imagine trying to do a book! And good grief, after 112 books, I'm amazed (but highly grateful) you can even find more stories inside your head.

STILLLLLL no SAWR around here! Why do they put meaningless drivel out early, but no, not your incredible works?! Are they going to have a midnight release on May 1st or something?! LOL! I'm glad you have a blog to give me little morsels!

Lisa said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who obsesses over things and does everything but what I should be doing! I am not a writer at all (my blog does not count), and while I've toyed with the idea of writing a kids book, I've never jumped in for fear of exactly that: starting. I will be doing a lot of writing in the next few weeks, but a training manual for children's ministry is not what I'd call a "good read."

Suzanne said...

Yay a new book!

I love knowing that you feel that way. It makes my writing struggle a little less insecure.

Lynette Sowell said...

Angela...this is a great comfort to me. Although I wish it DID get easier. Some things do. But still, there's those usual bumps in the road. Can't we go around them???

Bonnie Way aka the Koala Mom said...

113??? WOW!

I'm not sure if I should be sad that it doesn't get easier to start a novel, or glad that even the experts have troubles with it... :)