On Beginnings


Writing is a funny way to spend your time. At times it is totally engrossing as the words flow and the ideas speed along, word count growing by the minute. At other times it is like trying to paint your finger nails with gloves on!

I have the plan of a book sitting in my computer. It’s been there for over a year. I have a title, a plot outline, character profiles and pages of research on the theme, but I haven’t been able to find my way in to the story. I’ve written several beginnings, a few scenes from later in the book, and even the ending, but none of the beginnings feel right. I don’t want to abandon the idea, because I think it’s a good one, but it is extremely frustrating.

So, imagine my excitement when I was talking to one of my writerly friends and he suggested a way into the story. It seemed perfect. It would hook the reader, give a glimpse of the protagonist’s character and, more importantly at this stage, get me started! I could hardly wait to get home and start writing.

I sat at my computer and the words started coming. I saw a scene in my head and got it all down. I was rather surprised at where it was going, but it was fun and at least I was writing. After a few hundred words I had to stop – real life interrupted. A day or two later, I went back to it and added some more. I was enjoying myself, but a little voice was telling me that this was not the beginning I was seeking after all.

I was disappointed that what had seemed so promising wasn’t, after all, the way into my novel. I began to worry that I would never be able to write anything again. This was my one idea for a new book, and I couldn’t write it. Imagine my relief when this morning, as I was having coffee with a friend, and told her about it, I realised that it may not be the start of one book but it is the opening of another, totally different, but equally interesting.

So…the book I can’t write will sit a bit longer in the dim, dusty wasteland of my documents folder, and I’ll start fleshing out the new idea, build characters, set scenes, create a story arc, see where it all takes me.

At least I have a beginning.



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