Saturday, 31 May 2014

What freezes a writer's blood?

I just started a new story.

Hooray, cheers, party hats, streamers, and all that other fun stuff.

Starting a new story is fun. It's like starting out on an adventure, or climbing to a high lookout to see a whole land stretching out in front of you. Where will you go? What will you do? The possibilities are endless.

But it's not all fun. Starting a new story can also be kind of scary.

I've had this story in my mind for a while. While I've been focussing on getting other stories done, it's been sitting up in my head, quietly waiting and biding its time. In my quieter moments, I've been able to toss it around in my mind, considering how it will work and what sorts of ways I can bend it and twist it to make it as fun as it can be (and apologies for the rather tortured mixed metaphors here).

But then, after months (or even years) of quiet consideration, the time comes to make a start on putting that story onto the page. And that's when things can get a little scary.

It's one thing to have the embryo of a story idea spinning around in your head. It's quite another to actually write the thing. There are so many reasons to be afraid. Will I be able to do the story justice? Will I be able to effectively convert what is in my mind as an idea into an actual story composed of words?

And what if it just turns out to be no good? In my head, it seemed like a great idea for a story? But now that I'm getting it written, is it really that good? What if I show it to other people and they turn around and say, "What a load of rubbish"?

So you see, the moment when you come to write a long-held story idea is actually a pretty terrifying one for a writer. But am I going to let it hold me back? Hell, no. I'm going to go for broke and get it written as well as I can. If I don't do the original idea justice, or if it turned out to be a dumb idea in the first place, I don't care.

Because if I did, then I guess I would never, ever be a writer.

1 comment:

  1. I don’t usually talk about works in progress. As soon as I do I invariably lose interest. But I am close to finishing something at the moment which I’m going to call a novella although what it actually is is an interior dialogue during which a writer writes a story. When people ask me how I write—like I get asked this question ten times a week—I never know what to say to them: I sit down and write and that’s about it. So I decided to document the process as best I could. How entertaining any reader will find it when it’s finished I’ve no idea but it was something I obviously needed to get off my chest. Not that I’ve been brooding over it for months or even days. Nope, typical me, I just sat down one day and began writing with no idea where this was going and a couple of weeks later I’m just about done. And that’s pretty much what happens in the novella. A guy sits down, clears his head, writes the first thing that comes into said head and then tries to work out a) where the hell it came from and b) where it’s heading. There are times I really wish I was a plotter but that’s just not how I work.