Oh boy. What a nervy day. I got up early because I couldn’t sleep. Today was the day I picked to start the new novel so I was eager to see how it would all pan out.
I had breakfast and drove to the coffee shop to meet my writing buddy where I often worked. About six half-starts later I had nothing to show for my effort except a blank page. Absolutely nothing. Hoo boy, I knew this would be a hard book to write but I didn’t expect this. So I packed up and went to lunch at a Lebanese restaurant. I came back home with more than a little starch knocked out of my sails. This was not a good start at all. I had the story in my mind but for the life of me I couldn’t find an entry into the story.
I am not writing this like another Haxan story. If I was doing that I believe it would have been much easier to find a beginning. I am trying to do something more with this book.
After coming home I grabbed a cigar and a cup of coffee and went into the backyard to do some hard thinking. I looked over some of my notes. I was still confident the story was good. But where was the entry point? I thought back to the messed up starts I had encountered that morning. Something didn’t seem right about them. Maybe I had something in the wrong place? Maybe this was a structural problem? I was a little stressed and like any other writer suddenly all the doubts began to ball up inside me. I knew them for what they were, though, and wasn’t ready to freak out.
I went back inside and talked to a couple of good writer friends, Jennifer Brozek and Mary-Grace Ellington, who talked me off the edge. After convincing me not to jump I wrote the epigram to the novel and sent it to them to read. (The epigram is pretty important. It’s a structural pivot point for the book. If it doesn’t work I’m in trouble.) They both liked it and had suggestions. It was a start. It was something I could work with and polish as the months wear on. I began the first chapter and knocked out seven more pages. (Edit: Ha, knocked out. Yeah, right. It wasn’t that easy.)
Whew! So far I think I can work with what I have done. It’s nothing more than a shovelful and that’s not enough to build a castle from, but it is a start. Tomorrow I’ll read what I have written today and try and finish the first chapter. That should give me a better perspective as well.
Kind of a long post about nothing, but I have a start on the novel and I think it’s something I can build on. I don’t have a title yet, just calling it The Sunset of Destruction, the Ashes of the West. I don’t expect that to hold up, it’s just a working title, but it gives me constant reminder of the underlying theme and color of the novel.
Long day, but so far so good, I think. Hope.