I love beginning a new story. It is such a fantastic feeling for me – perhaps too good, because I always want to start new things before finishing the first thing. I notice I do that a lot in life with things other than writing too. I’ve started many a project, learned many a skill, only to abandon them for the next idea I have. It’s not because I’m fickle and need the next shiny thing to keep me amused, it’s because it’s a slog. When it starts to be difficult, I lose the joy of it. I understand now that to be a writer, and to finish writing, it’s not always about joy. It’s about love and dedication. Much like marriage.
I once downloaded a Spanish speaking app which is supposed to give adults a kick-start to Spanish speaking in thirty days. It’s five days of lessons, one revision day, and then a break. It’s a fantastic idea, it’s a fantastic app, but after I started the second week (after a break that was longer than a single day, granted), I didn’t understand half of what they were talking about and put it aside in order to focus on my writing. Ha! The thing that I was normally shying away from because it was getting tough was now the thing I was running to for a break. At least I understood writing! (Plus, considering I grew up in an Italian speaking household and have lost the knack for that language, you’d think I’d refresh something I already know instead. 20/20 hindsight).
So today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and I got up at five this morning to start on the book. I am in a state of bliss. I’ve already achieved the quota and plan on writing more because this is where I’m best – at the beginning. Not just because I’m fresh, but because my character is exploring a strange new world. It’s a world I know intimately because I’ve stolen the concept from another planned book series of mine. In this other series, Femme is a world I touch on lightly, but the idea of it has always fascinated me, and I’ve continually added to it. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about world-building because I’ve already done that in my head. I’m now able to explore it with my character, and after some 1700 words of writing this morning, I’ve introduced her and ended up delivering her into it. The next time I write, I’ll be waking her up and exploring the world (and story) with her. Another beginning!
The middle part, this is what terrifies me. I love beginnings, and I love endings – I have the story arc in my head. My character goes from here to there, with a big fog in the middle punctuated with a few vivid scenes. That fog is the bane of my writing existence. I normally never know the details of the middle of my story. I struggle with it. Because of this, I now outline my books into a list of scenes, where every scene written will propel the story to the next, and to the next. It clears the fog. For those who have the same issue I do – strong beginning, clear ending – planning helps a great deal. I’m not a planner at heart, but it works at cutting through the Fog of Middleton.
I love endings that imply a new beginning, or a new story. When all of the questions have been answered in the one you’ve just written, and you’re facing a new adventure, that’s when I would cut it off. The only ending that would signal finality to me is a death. If you don’t want to kill your characters, then you’re never going to feel as though the story has finished, because it hasn’t! They keep on living, they keep on having adventures.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a beginning to write.