Continuing with my theme of Things Writers Should Know About Writing, I’m exploring one of the most difficult things that writers encounter.
If you’ve ever started a fiction project, you must have some idea of what I’m talking about.
Blank pages are terrifying. No seriously. I’ve had to do with very few writers in my life who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a bright idea, but draw a blank once we have a blank page in front of us. Suddenly, the words we’d had is gone. And we sit.
Staring at that blank page, pens or typing fingers poised.
Waiting for the words when they don’t want to come.
Then you finally get past it and write the first chapter, the second… the third… You start to think you’re safe. After all, you’re in the middle of the story now, right?
Every chapter has a beginning, which means that every chapter has a beginning. And that blank you draw can strike at any of them.
The good news is: this is absolutely normal.
The bad news: Well… there’s not really a cure. Those blanks will come and there’s not all that much that you can do to stop it.
More good news: You can deal with it. When I get stuck on a blank page, I write down anything vaguely related to what I want to happen. Once that sentence is on the page, it’s a lot less difficult to continue. Other people try to cut down on the number of blank beginnings by always ending in the middle of a scene or chapter. Some people, follow Jack Torrance’s example in The Shining. Not the bit where he chops through the door. Although, if you’re really that frustrated with beginnings… You might want to go have a lie down.
No, I’m talking about his habit of writing All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Basically, he writes anything on that blank page so it isn’t blank anymore.
It works. No really. Any of my suggestions work because our fear of the blank page is a psychological issue. So, the solution is to find a way to trick the brain into thinking the blank page isn’t there any more.
Now PUT THAT AX DOWN!
What do you beat the blank page blank outs? If you’re new, which suggestion are you going to try?