"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." --Frank Tibolt
I've talked about plotting in advance vs. making it up as you go along before - the 'plotter or pantser' thing. While I stand firmly among the plotters, there's something I envy about those who can make up a book as they go along: it seems like it must be much easier to know when to start.
I'm in the middle of plotting my next novel, after my revelation of nearly two weeks ago, and it's going well so far. But I know there's going to come a time when I have to start the book. There will come a time when I've looked over the plot as many times as I can, fixed as many plot holes as I could spot, made sure everything that happens is important and every character has a significant role to play. I'll know that, soon, it will be time to write.
Which means opening a new document with a blank first page and hoping like hell I realize what the first few words need to be. I think we've all stared at the blinking cursor before, wholly unsure of just how to get something started. The cursor mocks us all.
I expect false starts. I expect that what I write at first won't even make it into the final book, and might get scrapped before anyone sees it. Something like that happened with Skyborne; not only did the first draft have a prologue, so did every single revision, up to the point where I tried cutting it out and found the story worked better without it. (Yes, I know there's a huge ongoing argument about prologues. That's another blog entry, I'm sure.) I expect to doubt myself every word of the way for those first few pages.
I know that I might write the first few pages, feel like it's not working, leave it, come back to it later, declare the entire thing crap, and wonder what I've been wasting my time on and why nothing ever works. But I'll get over that, and I promise, it will not be a blog entry.
One reassuring thing about all this, though, is that when I get started and it works, I'll know. When I sit down to write this and stand up an hour and a half or so later, utterly exhausted and giddy with a subtle kind of excitement, it will be a great day. This is a story I've been wanting to write for five years. I know that, once I start, I'll be able to keep it going, because I know this world and these people like nothing else.
I'm just not quite ready to begin yet. I'll get there.