And it begins. The first few paragraphs of my next novel are down. My characters are talking to me again. I’m reaching for my notebook more and more, grabbing at the rough snippets of dialogue that veer through my head–always when least expected, always when there’s not a pen to be found.
Fear is a great companion at the start of a novel. Not necessarily a fear of being criticised, although thanks for bringing that up! I think it’s more of a fear of commitment. A novel is such a huge undertaking and I find myself taking deep breaths at what it is I’m asking of myself. I’m sure this is what stops a lot of would-be novelists from getting that first novel out– a fear of the whole, that struggle of keeping an entire world in your head and sustaining your characters’ past, present and future as you move through the novel. At this time in writing, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by choice, story development, character, motivation and plot. There are a myriad of little dark rabbit holes down which to take your story. This is where the fear lies: what if I choose the wrong path? In a truly unhelpful way, there is only one cure for this fear and that is to dive in and get writing.
Once the first scene is down, even the first line, the rhythm of the story begins to emerge. I become consumed by the words I’m writing and can happily live in the bowels of my story. As I’m pulled closer to this new world, I lose sight of the bigger picture and live the events with my characters. I am a shadow, feverishly writing down everything they see, smell, hear and experience. Every once in a while it’s good to look up, if only to check the signposts but I can’t linger too long with my eye on the horizon otherwise the distance I need to cover seems unachievable.
Happy Writing and Reading!