For my inaugural post on Not Your Usual Suspects, I thought long and hard about what to write. After all, I wish to please. I’m a people-pleaser by nature. And I’m so excited to be a member of this fabulous group of authors. Thus, part of my preparation for this post involved several moments of panic. But once the panic cleared, thinking about this as a “first” had me thinking of other firsts…my first foray into writing, completing my first manuscript, the first time I felt comfortable calling myself a writer.
First steps. They can be such big steps to take. Sometimes the biggest. Sometimes so daunting that a potential writer never begins the journey.
But I’m glad I took those steps. The impetus to write has always been with me. I finally listened to the voices in my head right around the turn of the millennium. I remember picking up the January 2000 issue of Writer’s Digest and feeling like I’d finally found people who “got” me. I didn’t discover RWA until a couple years later (and then I found people who REALLY got me). Until then, my writing “career” involved much babbling and stumbling about, much like a toddler finding her voice and balance.
The kernel that eventually bloomed into my first manuscript came from a thought I had upon awakening one morning. (This was before I had kids, when I could lay in bed thinking for a few precious minutes before I had to rush to meet someone else’s needs.) Of course, that scene ended up buried in the second chapter rather than opening the book, but it gave me a clear look at the characters who’d been talking in my head for a few months now. I still remember that moment. That “ah-ha!” that motivated me to sit down and write my first scene. It was both a thrilling and a daunting task.
I still get a thrill when I sit down to start a new story. That blank paper or screen is full of possibilities. There’s nothing like starting fresh, getting to know my hero and heroine (and villain), and discovering a new plot. Okay, so maybe typing “The End” is a close second.
The beginning of my idea for Only Fear, my fifth manuscript and my first book due out from Carina Press on September 5, 2011, came from a documentary I watched about the Vidocq Society, a group of specialists who meet once a month in Philadelphia to solve crimes. I was fascinated by this concept, and thus my SSAM organization was born. (SSAM is short for Society for the Study of Aberrant Minds, a group of professionals with various specialties who hunt serial killers.)
Beginnings are tough, but so exciting, too. They can be stressful and stimulating. But getting past that first step in the journey is so rewarding.
What beginnings stand out for you and why? Do you remember the first time you had a story idea, or what became of that initial story? What was a memorable first step in your journey?