NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Friday, January 25, 2013

Curse that blank page!



I opened this page and looked at it for about half an hour, then I realised I was looking at the subject of the blog.
That’s right, the blank page. It’s either a curse or a blessing. I’ve always looked on it as a curse. I’ve spent several delirious weeks developing a story and characters, and I have my notes on another piece of computer paper.
That blank page terrifies me. Will the story translate well on to the page, or will it die a death? Or will I have to fight to tell the stories, stop part way through when the characters turn out to be different than the planning said they were?
More often than not, the latter is what’s happening to me. I have a very tight deadline coming up, and I haven’t finished the book. But that’s because I had to stop when the character revealed hidden depths I really wanted to explore. I could have written the story fast, the way I’d planned it, and hit the deadline with time to spare. But I didn’t think that would be doing justice to the character, or the story. So I stopped and spent a long time thinking. Around a week. That’s why I write fast, because usually, I’ve worked through the story before the dreaded blank page appears. But I seem to be entering another level, because I often want to stop and, if not take the plot in a different direction, then work it through a bit deeper.
Plus, I suck at writing beginnings. Endings—piece of cake. I know them and the story by then, and so I know when I’ve written the last sentence. They want me and the reader to go away so they can get on with their lives. It’s a hill a writer has to get through. Invariably I start writing, and it goes now. I’m getting better, but then, after fifty-odd books, it’s about time I did. When I first started, I used to write out what I wanted to, backstory, planning meetings, all that—then I’d delete it. I needed to write it to get going. The reader didn’t need it, though, so out it went. I’ve seen published books with those scenes in, and wondered why the editor didn’t get tougher, but perhaps the author fought for them. “How will the reader know that my hero is a dragon shifter if I don’t tell them?” Maybe when he does the dragon thing, they might. That’s what teachers of writing mean when they say action, not words, is needed. Don’t tell, show. It’s much more exciting.
Beginnings I have great problems with, which is probably why sending in the first three chapters of a book isn’t a good idea for me. My editors have to work with me to get it right. Once that’s sorted out, I’m away. I love middles, when everything is getting unravelled, and endings, when it works out, but beginnings—no.
So yes, the blank page. I seem to have filled this one. See what I mean about beginnings?

Lynne Connolly

6 comments:

Kathy Ivan said...

Oh, yeah, Lynne, that blank page terrifies me too. I play with the story in my head, have a general idea of where it's going, definitely know how it ends (always with a HEA and the mystery solved). But getting the right beginning, starting the story in the right place, that's always tough. Invariably I'll start at the wrong point and end up having to pitch out a couple of chapters before I get that "Ah yes" moment and now it's the right place for that life-changing event.

Great post.

Marcelle Dubé said...

I just start writing and work my way into the story that way. I always have an idea of where it should start, but most often it changes by the time I'm finished. Now, endings... those I have a problem with!

Anne Marie Becker said...

How interesting - for me, it's the middle I struggle with. I love beginnings...and I can usually visualize the ending. It's how to get from A to B that is the challenge for me.

Elise Warner said...

The middle for me--I have to remind myself that not every i has to be dotted. I know how I want the book I'm working on now to end but it's the first draft and my characters might insist on changes.

Rita said...

I alway have my beginning and end. I love filling in the middle. My problem is I over fill. then have to cut big time

Cheap Dentist said...

same here. start is the most difficult part and once you have done so you are then bombarded by thousands of thoughts.

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