Beginnings are the hardest.
There’s MM, a novel that I’m about halfway through revising. And there’s Untitled, a novel outline I began developing today for NaNoWriMo. The inclination to keep working on MM rather than face Untitled is overwhelming. It is as if, by virtue of having accumulated pages and pages worth of words, the MM manuscript manages to keep me in its orbit. Manuscripts, my friends, have gravitational fields.
Poor Untitled, on the other hand, is at the stage where its sole power is the ability to freeze even the most stouthearted in the headlights of Infinite Possibility. The brave writer wanders onto the road of Plot or Character, maybe, with a glimmer of an idea. Hey, what if a little girl found a dragon’s egg and hatched it in her fireplace?
Instantly, the writer hears the distant rumbles of… is that a truck? Hmm. Dragons are so… cliche. Find a different animal, for god’s sake, aren’t you supposed to be creative? It could be anything… a lion-boy. A giant snake. A monkey-hedgehog. Anything.
A girl? Really? Female heroines are becoming such a cliche in the Fantasy genre. But boys are cliche, too… thanks to Harry Potter.
And Fantasy?? What the hell are YOU doing entertaining the notion of writing a FANTASY?!
The Steamroller of Possibilities rumbles onward, and the poor brave writer frozen in his tracks eventually gets… steamrollered.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In my head is always the litany:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer…
… Oops, wrong litany.
The one will put you on a rocket strong enough to escape the gravitational field of the near-finished manuscript is:
I’m not really writing this novel. Just playing around with ideas. It’s never going to get written, really. I can have as many stupid, cliched, hack-ish ideas I want, no one will ever know. I’m not really writing this novel.