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Why Starting a New Story is Hard for Me

Why Starting A New Story Is Hard For Me

Three hours. I spent three hours writing 1066 words (but who’s counting?) on Monday last week. After I quit for the day, I was so frustrated I went off my health plan and snacked on my emergency M&Ms.

I’d barely gotten into my new story, and it already felt impossible.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love writing a new book. It’s exciting to form the story I’ve been mulling in my head. I get to know the characters. They surprise me every time! And the setting begins to breathe. Each scene builds on the next, and it gets easier each time I sit to write.

But…the first pages. First 50 pages? (100? The entire thing…? Haha!) They are HARD for me!

Here are some reasons why:

  • My first draft is where I research the setting details. While I know the main stuff–the town, the season, the exact spot where the particular scene takes place–I don’t always know the terrain or what the characters would see. Details matters to me, so when I’m unsure about something, I turn to the internet.
  • I don’t know the characters all that well when I begin the book. The things they say, the emotions they’re feeling, and little things like what they’re wearing all come to me as I type. Sometimes I have to stare in space and contemplate it all before I can move forward.
  • Chapter 1, especially, puts pressure on me. I have a LOT of things to get across in these pages, and I try to find a way to make them all come together organically. I rarely succeed on the first try. And often I have a nagging feeling until it’s smoothed out.
  • While I always have a strong synopsis written before I begin a story, the page by page points aren’t always obvious to me. Sometimes deciding how to start a scene is the easiest thing in the world, and other times it’s torture.

The bottom line is that the choices I make in the opening pages affect the rest of the story. One wrong turn, and I’m rewriting for hours. Who has time for that? I’d rather spend time figuring out the best course right away than have to fix it all later.

My goal is always to grab the reader from page one and to not let them go.

When was the last time a book grabbed you from page one and didn’t let go? I’m always on the hunt for book recommendations, so please share in the comments!

By the way, in one week my Christmas novella will be in stores! It’s part of a 2-in-1 bundle titled Western Christmas Wishes with Brenda Minton! More info and purchase links can be found by clicking on Western Christmas Wishes. Have a fabulous day!

JillKemerer

Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund and keeping up with her busy kids, Jill enjoys magazines, M&MS, fluffy animals and nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.  Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. One of my favorite books this year grabbed me from the beginning and refused to let me go. In fact, I’m still mulling it over a month and a half after putting it down! Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

  2. I know how you feel. Sometimes it seems like I wander around too much in the beginning. In my latest work in progress, I’ve rewritten the beginning at least four times. Not just small changes either. I’ve completely ripped out whole chapters, rewritten some of them, then stuck them back in—beginnings are so hard! Good thing it’s all worth it in the end!! 😀

  3. Jill, I look forward to reading anything you write! I just finished your series about those hunky Wyoming Cowboys….loved it I plan to read your 5 book series about Lake Endwell soon….already have them on hand.
    Keep up the great writing.

    1. Well, Jackie, you just made my day!! It’s so easy to doubt my work. I really appreciate your kind words! Thank you so much! And my new series, Wyoming Sweethearts, launches in late November with Her Cowboy Till Christmas! I can’t wait!!

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