The Promise of an Empty Page

blank page

As I approach the end of the re-write for the Book With No Name, I find myself thinking more and more about my next effort.

While the manuscript for the new novel was out in the real world, looking for a home, I had several months to flesh out my thoughts for the next one.  The original kernel of the idea has been knocking around in my head for some years, but I’ve been unsure what to do with it.  I slowly winkled out various elements of plot, characters and theme.  Some parts of the story are clear in my mind, but other elements remain hopelessly out of focus.  It’s been refreshing to have hardly thought about it for the past six months, and I’m hoping that the subconscious fermenting of ideas has continued while I’ve been working on the old text.  With a bit of luck, after this hiatus some of the hazier bits will suddenly ping into focus.  Well, I can hope, can’t I?

I love this part of the process, before I have set a single word down on paper.  I know Hemingway was allegedly terrified of the proverbial blank page, but I relish not having begun.  Part of the allure for me (optimist that I am) is the glittering promise of what might be to come.  Right now, before a word has been written, anything could happen.  I haven’t written myself into any knotty plot holes.  My characters are yet to jump on to my back and weigh me down.  This, I think as I scribble down ideas in my notebook, could be it.

Writers are burdened by the same dreams as everyone else.  Perhaps we are even more afflicted than others, since when it’s just you and the words in your head, there’s nobody else you blame (although we might try.)  Every time I begin a new book, I have to hope that it will be the best thing I’ve ever written.  Otherwise, why would I bother?  Writing, like life, should be an on-going education.  I’m looking forward to learning some more.

Comments 2

  1. When I finished my recent novel, I thought, “I won’t write another book this good…”

    As I look to what’s waiting next, I look forward to proving myself wrong.

    I hope your next book is the best thing you’ve ever written, and that each book after that continues the trend…

  2. Post

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As you know, writing books is a craft like any other, and you have to hope that the more you do it, the better you get. I’ve always thought it must be a particular kind of hell to be wildly successful with your first book and then fail to live up to its promise with everything afterwards. (Not, I should say, that this was ever going to be a problem for me.)

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