Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ready, Set, Go!

I really love the beginning of a book, the clean, blank screen (okay, I don't write long-hand, so just insert page), the possibilities waiting ahead. It's the part of the creative process that thrills me the most. Oh, don't get me wrong, writing the entire book is interesting, but the beginning holds a special wonder for me. In fact, I'm really good at beginning stories - too good in fact. Think I might be practicing too much? I have a lot of first chapters lying around - even a few chapter two's. But I've only finished one book and, while not a total disaster, wasn't my best effort. And I didn't like finishing it. I know that sounds strange but I didn't feel the elation I thought I should have. I definitely didn't have the same sense of awe and wonder I experience at the beginning of a book. But it was a learning experience. I discovered that I wasn't good at dark, brooding characters. I'm more adept at comedy (you think?) and yet I feel as if my life is filled with dark, brooding moments. Maybe that's why I don't write them very well right now. I need the comedy and I guess my mind would much rather dwell on laughter than angst.

Do you feel the same way? Do you find yourself shying away from topics or "moods" that too much mirror what you are going through in your "real" life? And what part of the book is your favorite to write - the beginning, middle or end?

30 comments:

Janie said...

I do. I could write lots of things, modern and about where I live and things that have happened. I have even tried, but they just drag me down.

I can explore similar themes in other settings, particularly period settings.

So yes, I do shy away from things I know and write more about what I would like to discover.

Good post.

Bailey Stewart said...

Hey Melinda - thanks for dropping by. And thanks for the comments.

Peggy said...

I hate beginnings. I love the middle. By that time I'm engrossed totally in the story and characters.

I can write either comedy or dark. The theme of the story sets my mood. If it's dark, I can dig deep and really pull out some intense feelings. Same with comedy.

Bailey Stewart said...

I think, for me, that my world right now is so full of sad things that I work hard at tamping them down. It's really hard to dig in for something that I'm trying desperately to hide.

Susan said...

Oh how I envy anyone who is capable of writing even two paragraphs that work together!

Bailey Stewart said...

Who said they work together LOL

Sandy J said...

I love beginnings! I have oodles of them. Files and files of them.

May one day donate them to the writing museum of 'Don't let this happen to you'.

Susan said...

Hey! I have read a couple of your writing exercises and really enjoyed them.

Meretta said...

I especially love the beginning of a story with all of it's possibilities.

I can see how people may need to distance themselves if they're having a tough time of it so that they're not overwhelmed, but I also believe that tapping those emotions makes one's work raw and real and honest. If you've got it, I say use it! Even if you sit at the keyboard crying your heart out, it's got to help somehow.

Toni Anderson said...

If we write what we're not my life is a comedy LOL.

Actually my life is pretty funny. Not heartbreaking or sad at this point in time--beautiful and fresh and full of possibility.

I think writers in general have a problem with 'writing the book'. We can all come up with wonderful starts, but following through and getting your teeth stuck in the nitty gritty sagging middle is where the true dtermination to BE a writer shines through. You have FINISHED one book!!! No one ever thinks it is as good as it should be!! That is a huge achievement that not that many people can say.

Well done Eve!!!

ruby55 said...

I guess I have to relate this to reading rather than writing certain kinds of books.

When I'm not feeling all that great, I prefer reading something that's a little more in a humorous vein or at least neutral. That's certainly not the time for me to read about vampires--it I ever do. I definitely need feel-good books at such a time. I think that's how I got more deeply involved with the romance genre to begin with.

I feel the same about reading books that mirror my own situation as you said about "tamping down" certain feelings. I think it's only natural. Actually, I think this really is a meaningful idea. I've often wondered why *exactly* I need to escape into books like romances, while actively try to avoid books that delve more into the sad side of a character. Just as my brother keeps telling me to "focus on the positives" in my life, I think, "What positives?" since I can't really see any.

Hmm. This has been very enlightening. Thanks for bringing up this subject. I know in many ways our lives are similar.

I used to read a lot of meaningful literary fiction and classics but haven't been able to read more than the odd one for years. I think I've realized why not.

ruby55 said...

What Meretta said is true as well. Some poets wrote their most meaningful poetry when they were really in the dumps. But then maybe there are people who can pull out the darkness in them, examine it and make something meaningful or even beautiful out of it. Others probably have to flee from it for fear of wallowing in it too much and being totally overwhelmed by it to the point that they fear they may never re-emerge from "the slough of despond."

Just ideas.

christa said...

Well between you and Peggy you have the begining and middle taken care of, you just need someone to write the ending, a three author collaberation.
I changed out of my pink pj's too, I now have on my blue pants(I don't have any brown really)

Bailey Stewart said...

Sandy - not if I get there first :)

Susan - Thanks!

Meretta - Probably, but I do that anyway so I'm not sure I want to do it while writing.

Toni - I have a finished TERRIBLE book - one of those things that if I were to become an established author ... well let's just say if I were an actress it would be the nude photos of her past - please don't let anyone find it.

Ruby - very nice ideas, thank you.

Christa - I had to change out of the jammies - I had to go to work!

Dennie McDonald said...

I am a kidder, I kid, that is what I do - I don't writing comedy but do try to keep stuff out of doom and gloom - don't get me wrong - I gotta have a body count in some books. I tend not to read books if someone says - "Oh this book while make you cry." zoom, right to the bottom of the TRB pile!

I can start a book with the best of them - have 23 open WIP's - but my short attention span and writers ADD is killing me!

Bailey Stewart said...

Dennie - you're a kidder? :p Yep, starting a book is my favorite thing to do.

Lis said...

I'm not sure. I know when I was highly stressed a few years ago, all I wrote were the tear-jerkers so maybe that was some sort of therapy for me. *shrug*

I think it depends on what I'm writing, with this one, hating beginnings (chapter 2 is EVIL I tell you) the last ms it was the middle. But always been glad to type the end on every one! *g* That feeling of not liking finishing it, might be your inner editor or muse or whatever you want to call it telling you you've taken a wrong turn somewhere in there. Mine likes to stop me from writing till I figure it out and make the u-turn in the right direction.

Bailey Stewart said...

I plan to go back and re-write it someday - in fact I have started some work on it, just shelved it for the current WIP. Sounds like the writing was good therapy for you.

Brandy said...

As one of the few who does not really write novels, I just wanted to say that I admire those who persevere. You're doing great Eve.

Bailey Stewart said...

Thank you sweetie - your check is in the mail ;-)

Lis said...

Looking back, it probably was. Just didn't realize it at the time *g*

Bailey Stewart said...

Lis - maybe if we realize it it wouldn't be therapy?

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I love setting up a book. The initial research, brainstorming, creating the characters, picking the scenery. The actual opening of the book is something I struggle with. I tinker with it, move stuff around, add things, delete things, scrap it and start all over again. I love hitting the end, too, but have not seen it enough lately. I'd like to hit the end at least twice this year!!

Bailey Stewart said...

Joely - with the word count you've been doing lately, it looks like you might hit "the end" at least once this year.

Lis said...

Could be right on that. Its only once you come out of the fog that you see what it really did for you. :o)

Bailey Stewart said...

The fog? Maybe that's why you never saw those nekkid muses :)

Actually, I know where you're coming from on that. I used to write a lot of suicidal poetry when I was a teenager. Getting the thoughts out might have helped me at that point. Who knows?

Kate Hardy said...

I love writing beginnings. I *loathe* endings - think it's because I hate saying goodbye to my characters. And I have to watch out for saggy middles - personally and in books!!

I did tackle a subject I thought I'd never be able to handle. And it's turned out to be one of my best books. Took me nearly 20 years to get to the stage where I could handle the topic, though.

Bailey Stewart said...

And it is indeed your best work. But I think you know what I'm talking about and it just takes time to get into the right frame of mind in order to deal with those feelings.

Melissa Marsh said...

I like to avoid situations that are current to what I'm feeling at the time. The only time I don't do that is when I write poetry - and I don't do that very often anymore

I love writing the beginning of the novel, too! The middle is the worst, though!

Bailey Stewart said...

Yeah, for me I really need to be depressed in order to write half-way decent poetry - otherwise it comes out sounding like a Hallmark card.