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Monday, May 24 2010

The beginning of a novel is easy. The germ of an idea sprouts in my brain and the story grows. I'm so excited to start that the words flow onto the page, tumbling out of my head faster than I can type. The first few chapters practically write themselves as I introduce characters, establish the plot, and describe the setting.

Along the same vein, the ending is fun to write. By that time, I know who the killer should be and have figured out how the final unmasking will occur. The last few chapters are taut with suspense, Gwyn trying to catch the killer, the killer trying to silence Gwyn. Then the wrap-up scene where all is explained, the clues laid out.

And then there's the middle. The biggest part of the book. And the hardest to write. I know where the story starts and where it needs to go, but getting there can be unbearable. Sure, some of the middle chapters are full of action, or at least humor. I get occasional bursts of creativity that make the words magically appear on the page. But then comes the rest. What I call the transition scenes. Gwyn needs to eat. She needs to sleep. She needs to go home at the end of the day and talk to her family. Something to mark the passage of time that exists in the real world. Or provide a bridge between major occurrences in the book. But, oh, how boring all that is to write sometimes. I actually feel guilty as I drag the sentences, word by word, out of my brain. If it's this awful to write, just imagine how dreadfully boring it is to read. No one should suffer like that. It's inhumane.

But I plug along, forcing myself to write something, anything, promising myself I'll tidy it up later, make it shine. Then, still shaking my head, I'll send the chapter off to my writing group, fighting the urge to apologize in the email for making them review such dreck. But the group is unfailingly kind. They swear the chapters are much more gripping than I believe. Okay, maybe not gripping. Maybe just mildly interesting. But their support encourages me to keep writing, to put one sentence after another down on the page.

Because if I can just slog my way through the middle, I can get to the end. And back to the fun of writing.
Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 02:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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