Page Fright

This is a term I was not familiar with until I actually started talking with fellow writers and realized that there are terms for almost every sort of writing based consternation.

The other day I finally say down to start writing my next novel. I say finally, but I only finished editing my last one a few weeks ago. Still it has been several months since I really wrote anything substantial.

“Nail that first line” I told myself, “No, just get something down, you can change it later.”I answered. “No, the first line sets the tone for everything.” I countered. So the argument raged until, before I knew it, not only had the opening line appeared, but the closing one also.

I sat back, suddenly nerverackingly aware that I was doing it, I was writing. Was my opening sentence the BANG factor that I have longed for ever since reading the opening line of Kathy Reichs debut novel Deja Dead. No, not when read on its own. But, when coupled with the final paragraph. Oh boy… I love it.

It was a sobering moment. I was actually scared, and my hands were clammy as they hovered over the keys. It was a strange reaction and one I have never really had before. Then again, the last three years have been spent working on in effect the same novel. Ok, it is two novels but they are part of a series. So I’m sure you can see my way of thinking.

I only started thinking of myself as being a writer when I wrote Highway to Hell. As a result of job losses, unemployment, babies and all manner of financial problems, it took a long time to write. The sequel not so much, but all told, these books are all I have ever known.

Now, here I am, standing on the abyss of a new adventure and I just have no idea as to what way I am going.  The one thing I do know is that I cannot wait to find out.

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5 thoughts on “Page Fright

    1. Thanks Catherine. I am looking forward to it. I am nervous simply because I really want to write this novel, and I want to do it well. Not that I did not write the other two well, but this novel is different, in terms of setting and in terms of style. I’m sure you know what I mean. 🙂

      Thank you for commenting.

  1. Work situation changes seems to be one starting point for several new writers. Unfortunately, acceptance takes time and money even more. I am, perhaps, at a stage of writing infancy with a blog going “darkofficehumour.wordpress.com” and a first book in the process of production. It is good to know that people have traversed somewhat similar paths earlier and have achieved some success.

  2. I use several coping mechanisms for “the terror of the blank page” (can we call it “librivacuphobia”?).

    First, ideas. I use ideas from my dreams and nightmares for fiction. I keep a notebook beside my bed to write them down. Nonfiction is driven with accumulated information and ideas.

    Second, outlines. Even my fiction has outlines aligned with a list of plots and character descriptions.

    Third, procrastinated refinement. I found that the “punch in the face” hook comes typically *after* I’ve written the text. Write! Worry about refinement later.

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