Friday, June 8, 2012

COMMENTARY: When you just can't get started

Back when I was working on my Masters in Creative Writing, I got some advice from one of my teachers which has helped me deal with the Blank Page=Blank Mind Syndrome writers get some days.

What he said was don't look at the blank page. Start with some catch-phrase which you know you're going to delete:

"In the beginning..."
"It all started when..."

No big surprise when you have a few words on the page, it's easier to start adding to the narrative. And thinking in terms of the beginning or the start even when you are working in scenes helps you focus on the inciting incident.

What's that? The Inciting incident is when everything changes. That's where you should start your story and a lot of your chapters. The lead-in stuff gets boring particularly if you give the reader too much information.

Is this suggestion a cure for writer's block? I can't answer that, because I've never really had that problem--possibly thanks to this suggestion. I think tricks like this help keep you moving forward, because sometimes when you're stuck, you just don't know where to start.

Blank pages are scary places, they gleam and make your eyes hurt if you look at them too long, so fill them up. You can pull out the good stuff once you've gotten something written and yes, usually even in a page or more of crap, there's a gem, you've just got to find it.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012

1 comment:

  1. I had to employ this trick when writing technical articles in magazines. Thanks.