Wednesday, November 16, 2005

New Story Blues

Thanks so much for the comments from yesterday. You all are truly a blessing.

Well, it’s Wednesday, and I am now officially 4 work days behind in my page count. I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. A very frightening epiphany. Methinks I shall remain in such sorry state for the rest of my life when it comes to starting a new book. It’s the weirdest thing, the way my brain works in writing. I really would like to have the entire plot figured out when I start a new book. You see, I don’t like being spontaneous. I like things planned out. To the hilt. No surprises. (I save them for my poor characters).

I really am a very boring person.

So you think my brain would work that way in building a new story. Able to plan. Able to leap tall story structures with a single bound. But no—I get the premise, the basic twists . . . and no more. I am doomed to start the book—and rely on spontaneity. It’s like pulling teeth. (No, no, please, don’t get me started on the dentist thing.) I stare at the blank page—and start to sweat. No, it’s worse than that. I’m so scared of staring at the blank page, I can’t even get myself to open the file.

Man. I’m hopeless. I think somebody Up There got me mixed up with an author.

Because my brain is fried, and it’s going on 10 p.m. (as I write this Tuesday night), I have little more to offer you today than the first page or so of Coral Moon. Draft version, of course. If it makes it into the manuscript at all, which my last prologue . . . did not. Well, actually, it did make it. It just got . . . moved.

Sort of.


Kill and live. Let live—and die.

The words burned. Through his retinas, into his brain, back, back, to the innermost center of neurons and synapses. There they bubbled and frothed like hot acid, eating away at his soul.

Only a crazy person would follow this command.

He slapped both hands to his ears, cradled his head. Pushed in, squeezing, until the pressure battled the pain inside. His eyes screwed shut, mind pleading for the horrific message to be gone when they reopened. He hung there, cut off from the outer world, attention snagging on the life sounds of his body. The whoosh of breath, the beat of his heart.

The words boiled.

Soon the pressure grew too great to bear. He pulled his hands away, let them fall to his sides. The kitchen spun. He edged to a chair and dropped into it. Bent forward and pulled in air until the dizziness passed. Clutching hope, he turned his gaze once again to the table. The note was still there.

How did they get in here?

His shoulders slumped. What a stupid question. As if they lacked stealth, as if mere walls and locked entrances could keep them out. He’d been down the hall in his bedroom watching TV, the door wide open, yet had heard nothing. Hadn’t even sensed their presence as he pushed off the bed and walked with blithe ignorance to the kitchen for some water.

A chill blew over his feet.

His eyes bugged, then slowly scanned the room. Over white refrigerator and oak cabinets, wiped down counters and empty sink. To the threshold of the kitchen, leading into the hallway. There his gaze lingered as the chill worked his way up to his ankles. It had to be coming from the front of the house. His skin oozed sweat, sticky fear spinning down over him like the web of a monstrous spider. Trembling, he pulled himself out of the chair. For a moment he clung to the smooth table edge, ensuring his balance. Then slowly, heart beating in his throat, he forced himself across the floor, around the corner, through the hall and toward the front door.

It hung open a few inches.

His breath caught. They were taunting him . . .


Do I like this? I don’t know. I guess. Maybe, kinda. Was fun slipping the spider thing in there. Heh-heh.

In my next life, I am seriously going for that sitting-on-the-couch,-watchin’-Oprah,-eatin’-bonbons-gig.


Pammer said...

I really really like it!!!! See? You got a good start going there. But who are they!? I gotta know more. (Isn't that the purpose of the first of a story? Hook the reader? You got me). Liked the spider thing too.

Um, wanna come help me out of my tight spot? :0)

I actually pull up the document and then immediately think of five hundred other things I could do, you know they will only take a moment....yeah, right.


Gina Holmes said...

Anyone ever tell you that you've got a bit of talent? :) That's great! Funny how different we all are. My favorite part of writing is beginning a new story. What keeps my hands flying over my wip is the dangling carrot of beginning a new one when the old is finished. Love the opening line and I didn't get that song in my head. Great job~

Lynette Eason said...


CHickey said...

Sounds good to me! I was so glad to read this post. I've been struggling with the staring at the blank screen thing myself lately. Can I join you?

Domino said...

History tells me that kids used to grow up knowing they would join the family business: Clark Watchmaker & Sons, Farmer Brown & Sons, etc. It makes sense that you would inherit your word skill from your Heavenly Father and learn from Him. It's no surprise that when you see Him infuse His words with His power, you would also incorporate His power in your words. You get your excitement in writing from seeing His creativity.

I think God allows each of us to write differently so when we read about the many facets of God in different kinds of novels, it shakes up our limited view of Him - and then we see Him better.

Bottom line? Writing is fun! Isn't it?

Chris Well said...

Staring at the computer screen is the worst. (Okay, maybe not the "worst," but it's right up there.)

I have gotten into the hand-cramping habit of scribbling the story out on a spiral notebook, then typing it in later. It's the slo-o-o-w way round, but the pace allows my brain time to figure out the end of the sentence before I get there.

(Which, of course, precludes any hope of writing faster than a novel a year. If that.)

Wayne Scott said...

At first the comment about locked doors and walls not keeping them out had me thinking "Brandilyn is writing a supernatural suspense - cool!" Then you left a door open, and thoughts of the supernatural ran right through it.

Not that I'm disappointed. On the contrary, I'm still hooked after just one page.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

That's a grat start for a first page. Did you write it that chock-full of description on the first time around, or have you been rewriting it?

I sorta' half plot, adding as I think of things, but I just keep writing, even if I throw half of it away later.

I love pencil and paper, so plotting and notes are on paper until I use them.

I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. It has taught me how to keep writing and don't wait for an epiphany. It comes as I work.

Lynetta said...

Hi Brandilyn~
I have to agree with the others. Awesome start! You have me hooked already...

Sometimes when I get to that point in my writing, I take a few days off and try to work on other stuff, or read writing craft books. Usually, my story creeps back into my head and more scenes emerge.

Thanks for sharing your ups and downs with us. It helps to know I'm not alone in the struggles. Hang in there! You'll be in the groove before ya know it. :-)

Dineen A. Miller said...

Wow! Awesome start. I was there. Man, are you good at building tension. I felt every bit of it by the last line. And, um, I think I forgot to breathe. LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Lynette Sowell said...

You sure had us in this guy's skin. Great excerpt. What I'd like to know, though, is how you get deep into a villain? I have seen evil in the most innocent-looking places, but I'm working on making a villain with a plausible motive besides being disturbed, wanting revenge, etc. So if you ever want to share how you find out what makes them tick... :)