“In every artist there is a touch of audacity without which no talent is conceivable.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
Tomorrow I will begin. I will sit in front of my computer and think of all the blank pages ahead of me. I will invent characters. I will imagine love and despair. I will seek action and listen to see if I can hear my characters talking. I will dance them this way and that and hope beyond hope that I don’t have them doing any kind of jigs they absolutely would never do if I wasn’t pulling the strings and making them act contrary to their character. I will believe that I have a story to write.
“In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.” ~Pearl S. Buck
While Pearl Buck published books before I was born, I am old enough to remember the smooth promise of those reams of paper there on your desk. The blankness of the sheets just begging for words to spill across it. Your words. My words. No computers when I began writing, but it wasn’t the dark ages. There were typewriters. So my creative process has been attached to a keyboard for a long, long time. But the thought of taking up a pen to write speaks to the urge in every writer to spill stories out on the page.
Chapter One. Two plain words, but two words that are an enticing invitation into a story. Then I will need a great first line. Sometimes on this loop of writers I’m part of, we’ll all share the first line of our works in progress. It’s fun to see all the different ways we introduce our stories. Of course, I don’t have to have the final, revised perfect first line tomorrow. I’m a long way from my story being in front of readers where I need to have such a great first paragraph that a reader will be caught and not want to stop reading until she or he reaches the end. Right now at this beginning stage, I can have any first line as long as it entices me into the story and makes me want to write the next paragraph and then the next.
That’s the real secret of writing a book. Writing one paragraph, one scene after another. Oh, but what are those scenes going to be? That is the question. That is what will make me stare out my window in front of my desk and not see the birds flying in and out to the birdfeeder, but instead see the story playing out in my imagination.
It’s hard to write those first words, Chapter One. I never feel ready. I never think I know enough about the history of whatever era I’ve chosen. I always feel as if I need to find out just a little more about the characters’ background. After all, it’s their story. But there comes a time when you just have to start. And so, we’ll go on a tour of discovery, the characters and I, and hope we can figure out what happens next.
Yes, I do hope I have the audacity to begin again. To write yet one more book. Audacity – some of the synonyms for it are courage, bravery, boldness, nerve, daring. While it’s true that perseverance is a very necessary attribute to a writer and talent a good companion to have on the writing road, here at the beginning, with nothing but the blank screen in front of me, audacity is the word I need. The courage to begin. The boldness to believe it possible. The nerve to try to make fiction real. Audacity. I can use a double helping next week.
Also, next week, I’m hoping to unveil a new feature here on One Writer’s Journal as I get ready for Scent of Lilacs to be back out for readers in March. The Hollyhill Book of the Strange, or should that be the ordinary?
Thanks for reading!