“Once upon a time…”
We are never to begin our stories this way. How about “It was a dark and stormy night…”
That’s a “no-no” too. I find it interesting- the way the literary industry changes as time passes, truly an illustration of how we as human beings evolve. What pleased us once is now boring or unsatisfying. This is especially true with entertainment, don’t you think?
Now do not fret. I have not been hacked by a deep thinking philosophy professor. I believe what I am actually doing here is bone picking humanity. GRIN. I can do this because I too am a human being (though some may occassionally argue this nugget of info).
We are so demanding now, aren’t we? Instant gratification is normal and expected. We can no longer begin a book with a prologue. We must start with action or intensity, begging questions and hooking the reader.
I live in this day and age and remain guilty of the same behavior that I bash. But I don’t think it would hurt me to slooowwww down occasionally- take a breath, smell the roses (though I don’t right off the bat know where to find any roses at the moment) or read a classic that “drones on” in prologue or character description. Maybe just maybe we are a bit too hyped up on caffeine and action.
Now…go find a cozy chair and a hot cup of coff…I mean herbal tea…and read Gone with the Wind or Pride and Prejudice. I want a report of your less stressed, newly relaxed persona when you are done.
It is true…of all the things writers fear most, it is probably writing a synopsis. There is nothing natural about squashing your entire novel into one page. Check this out to curb your fears. It can be done!
I was walking from a restaurant with a friend of mine to my writing group the other night during downtown rush hour traffic. Now this woman is massively ADD and can’t walk and talk at the same time…well…she can but she only does one or the other functionally. We came to the crosswalk and I stopped to wait for the light. Deep in the trenches of her own mind she continued rambling on about our topic of discussion…and kept walking. My thought process went something like this:
She’ll stop…surely she’ll stop…She’s going to keep…OMG SHE’S GOING TO GET CRUSHED BY A TRUCK RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!
I managed to squeak out, “Amy, you’re going to get hit.” I said it just like that. No screaming, no panic in my voice. I could have very well have been saying, “My that’s a lovely shade of chartreuse you’re wearing.”
Long story short I saved her life. When we walk somewhere now I do the talking, she’s safer that way, we’re all safer that way…and by the way, you ask…what does this have to do with writer’s block? Her brain is a brilliant example of this condition. When you sit in front of your computer with writer’s block your brain is like hers when she tries to multitask- completely empty and catastrophically hazardous. No one wants that.
Let’s hop on over for a spell to Writer’s Digest and find some ways to avoid getting hit by a truck…I MEAN to avoid the pitfalls of writer’s block.
As I struggle, fight, laugh and smile with book two, I glance back on Miss Impractical Pants with “the look of love” – my baby. There comes a sense of pride and satisfaction with completing a project, especially one so dear to your heart, one you have placed snippets of your own life into and created characters you wish you could really meet one day- I mean cute Mr. Scott…and hello…Lucas, I mean come on, right?…if I don’t say so myself…
Grab a copy for your summer read. The sequel is in the works and you don’t want to be behind do you?