The Joy and Angst of Starting a New Book

Different modes in writing: After completing a book, one goes into “polishing” mode. I enjoy this part of the process as well as the writing. I have the security of knowing the story is complete…done. Now I focus on the editing, the things that make a difference.

Logic bombs: There are “logic bombs” to find and eliminate. These are parts of the story that don’t fit with other parts; are illogical in effect.

Mediocre writing: During my reading through the story, I will come across a sentence that seems awkward, or a line of dialogue that doesn’t ring true. I stop and study it. I don’t go on. The offending part is not what I would expect to read in a book by one of the super stars, so I don’t want it in my book. Sometimes it’s just changing a word or two, sometimes it’s rewriting the whole sentence or line of dialogue. There is great satisfaction when I get it right and can move on.

Painting a scene: Sometimes I stop to take the time to enhance a scene to which I gave only a cursory description in the draft. Again, it’s not what the best writers do, especially if the scene is important. In polishing I’ll take the time to “paint” the picture more completely.

Back story: These get skipped over sometimes and if one isn’t careful the writer can bog down his/her story with too much background. Still the reader needs a certain amount. I often have to expand this area, or streamline it so it doesn’t intrude into the story but gives the reader what they need to know.

The next book: After all this detail work and the novel is published, it’s time to sit down with the figurative blank piece of paper and start the next story. I have the outline in my head or written down. It provides a general guide although all my stories veered off from the outline at some point. But the opening lines, the opening scene, becomes the challenge. This part is critical as it may be the only part a prospective buyer reads before making a decision.

Making changes: In all of my five novels, none were written without changing the opening, sometimes completely and sometimes just sharpening it up. But all of my openings have had major revisions done to them. I should take comfort in that fact (and I do) and not angst over the start; just get going and let the story flow.

Starting the new novel: That’s where I’m at now. This blog is really a diversion, an avoidance activity on my part, so I should close it out and get back to that “blank sheet of paper”. I hope my exercise in procrastination was of some interest and given you a little insight into the different processes of the writing craft.

So enjoy your day and try not to avoid your own “blank sheets of paper” when they come up.

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