In the first article of this series in turning your book idea into money, we covered the pleasurable Step of conceiving your book idea and fantasizing it to life.
In the second we explored the vital usefulness of outlining, and how this Step will make the job of writing that much easier and quicker. In this post we will examine the actual writing of your brilliant idea, illuminating the methods to the madness of this solitary activity, ways to create compelling opening lines, and how you can make it all a successful breeze.
WRITING YOUR BRAINS OUT IS FUN
It can be intimidating, staring at that blank sheet of paper, or that empty white screen with its evil blinking cursor.
But you have everything you need to begin. You’ve conceived your idea. You’ve fantasized about it, molded it, outlined it to the point where you could name the type of grass your second-tier character is standing on while exposing a shocking truth late in the seventh chapter.
And yet, a roadblock remains: how to begin?
Beginning a 100,000 word novel (hopefully your first is not much longer than this or you risk scaring away prospective literary agents) can be a daunting task, and sometimes even more intimidating than writing the rest of it.
No matter how hard I try to perfect that opening line/sentence/chapter, and no matter how pleased I am with it at first, I always end up returning to it. Through a series of edits and revisions, my opening lines rarely survive unaltered. After years of reading and writing and study, I finally stumbled on 2 valuable solutions to this dilemma. Allow me to share them with you now. They are:
- Don’t spend days or weeks agonizing over your opening words. DON’T. Once you write your ending, you’ll feel compelled to rewrite the beginning. So just write whatever feels comfortable; you’ll end up editing it anyway.
- Wherever you think it is you should begin, ask yourself: Is this really where my story begins, or do things take off after this? Does this opening jive with the rest of my narrative? If it stands alone—cool, contrived, disconnected—it needs to be rewritten.
Blasé Pascal wrote: ‘The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.’
As you will be coming back to rectify any weaknesses or inconsistencies in your opening, you might want to give yourself a break here, and just start writing already. You’ll have a better idea where to start once you’ve ended. It sounds contrary, I know, but it makes sense. You’ll see. Becca Puglisi of writershelpingwriters offers some tips on openings. Continue reading “How to Turn Your Book Idea into Money in the Bank, Part 3: Writing”