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Monday, November 06, 2006

The Favorite Part

Every writer has their favorite part of the book to write. The part where it seems as if they struggle less to get it down, the part that's the most fun for them to work on. For me, it's always been the first three chapters of the story. I might have to do more revision work on them after the fact than I do on other parts of the book, but at the first draft stage, the words just tumble out and I have a grand old time getting to know my characters. Not this time.

For the first time in my life, the beginning of a book has been the biggest bitch ever. I tend to mention how my writing's going over here a lot, but I haven't lately. That's because I've trashed everything I've written on this story over and over and over again. I did it again this weekend--twice. And I literally mean everything I've written, not just a few pages or a chapter or whatever. Every single word has been cut multiple times.

I've been trying to figure out what the problem is, but I'm not sure I have the answer. How it usually works for me is as I'm finishing up a book, the next characters will come in and start talking to me. Then while I'm taking a break, they'll continue giving me information and let me see some scenes. This always includes the opening of the book. That's not what happened this time. :-( Creed and Maia did not start talking to me as I finished up Ryne and Deke. They didn't talk at all until a few weeks ago and they haven't been giving me scenes from their story. Very frustrating.

Left to fly blind, I've been trying to come up with the start of the story on my own and it hasn't been working. Everything I've tried has been boring (although my writing buddies assure me it's not that bad, just heavy on back story). But it's more than that. If it were just a problem of barfing on the page, I could fix that. The biggest problem has been that nothing I'd written had me emotionally engaged.

I'd tried starting from Creed's POV over and over. I tried from Maia's POV once, but that didn't work either. As I was talking to a writing buddy this weekend, we both decided that starting with Creed hunting a demon wasn't the right place because it wasn't working for me and we both came up with a very similar idea at about the same time. Call Creed in front of the council. My brain started spinning with ideas.

While we talked, though, I also remembered way back to when I was writing the proposal for Ryne's story. The scene I saw then that told me that Maia and Creed had a story and were a couple was in Maia's POV and involved her opening the door and finding him standing there. We decided that if the first idea didn't work, that I'd go back to my original view of the story.

So yesterday I started writing out the scene where Creed is facing the council. He's in trouble, but doesn't much care. I spent hours and hours on this scene--and around 4pm, I scrapped the whole, entire thing.

Same problem. I wasn't engaged in any way.

I started over. I switched to Maia's POV, but instead of her opening the door, I thought what if Creed was already inside the house, just kicking back and relaxing? What if she'd had the day from hell and just wanted to come home and relax? For the first time, I felt the emotion. I heard my character. I was engaged with the scene I was writing.

It's too early to tell if this is going to stick. The words did come out fairly fast and furious, but I was tired from writing all day on the scene that didn't work and I only got a few pages down. For the first time, though, I feel optimistic that I'm on the right track. I just hope I'm right.