On a Story Cliff Edge

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 2 Comments

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First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination. ~Napoleon Hill

I’ve been writing a long time. My first novel was published almost forty years ago. Hard to imagine that it’s been that long, but as the old saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” To be honest, I think time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Especially if you have a deadline.


I wrote for many years without deadlines except for the ones I made for myself. Those were more goals than deadlines. I would have the goal to finish this or that story by a certain time. That kept me accountable. Helped me to get books finished. Then I would ship them off with the hope that an editor somewhere would love my story enough to get it published. But I didn’t have a contract before I wrote the story. Now I do. And I’m glad. I like having a promise arrangement with a publisher. “Write us a book by a certain date and do it well enough and we’ll publish it.” Well, those contracts have a lot more words than that with all the legal ins and outs, but that’s pretty much what it says. When I sign that contract, I’m promising I will deliver as promised. I can’t meander along simply thinking about writing. I have to actually come up with words that tell a story from the first “Chapter 1” beginning to at last “the end.”


As you may have guessed, I’m standing on the edge of the story cliff, ready to jump into a new story. At least I need to be ready. But I hesitate. Here at the beginning, I wonder if I know enough. Who are these people I want to walk with through a story of 300 plus pages and 100,000 words, give or take a thousand? Will they share their story with me? And where, oh where does the story begin? So many questions. Can I find the answers? But what I need to remember as I tremble at the beginning is that I don’t have to have all the answers on page one. I don’t have to have a perfect beginning. Not yet. Perfection – or as near as I can come to it – will come later. Long after I’ve walked the original story trail with my characters. Then I can go back and polish and shine the beginning and all my words.

Walking the Story Trail

But now it’s simply time to trust that yes, I can write another story. I have to wonder why I hesitate. Haven’t I already been down the story trail with many other characters? Many of their stories have become books. Readers have actually picked up those books, read my words, and walked with my characters along those story paths. I imagined them and wrote them. Readers read them and imagined them. It’s a neat circle between a writer and a reader that makes a story come to life.

So it’s time to leap out into the unknown air of a new story and trust the story to have wings that will carry me from the beginning to the end.

As always, thanks for reading. I’m planning a new book giveaway soon. So check back to see if I can come up with something fun.

Comments 2

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Deadlines have a way of keeping a writer focused, Roberta. I’m sure your story was great. Everybody loves your stories. I haven’t heard anything from the publishers about sending out gift copies of the upcoming book, but I’ll get one to you somehow. I always appreciate your review.

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