The first six pages

I just completed writing the first six pages of my new novel, tentatively titled Death Bet. It picks up where Horse of a Different Killer leaves off, so you’d think it would be fairly easy to slide into those characters again.

You’d be wrong.

First, it’s been several months since I entered that world. In the meantime, I’ve been working on short stories and all the right-brained stuff involved in writing like marketing and promotion and building a website (still under construction). More recently, I’ve been outlining the plot for this new novel and developing a new set of quirky characters to complicate my protagonist’s life. But outlining isn’t the same as writing. For me, it’s the skeleton of the story. Or better yet, the roadmap. That’s seriously different than the actual journey.

I’ll get into the debate of outlining versus writing by the seat of your pants another time. For right now, I’m exhausted from the effort of writing six pages. Six really, REALLY bad pages. I do tend to edit a bit as I go, but mostly I try to get words down on the page. Tomorrow, I’ll look at them and change a lot of it. Maybe all of it. Heck, when I came back to my computer after a break for lunch, I deleted half of what I’d written this morning and re-did it. A flashback on page two? I don’t think so. Instead, I put the information into the dialogue. Better. Not great. But better.

I struggle with the first twenty-five or thirty pages. Always have. The first chapter of Horse of a Different Killer bears little resemblance to the original version. I think I wrote three completely different openings to that one. And that doesn’t count the re-writes. That’s just stuff like who is in the scene and where it takes place. THEN I rewrote it about twenty more times over the course of eighteen months or so.

I had a writing teacher once who said the beginning for her was the easiest part. It was the rest of it that gave her fits. Not me. Once I get rolling, I have no problem. Until I get to the middle. And then the end. Okay, maybe it’s all hard. But for now I’m working on the first six pages and for now, the first six pages are the hardest. Tomorrow, the hard part will be pages seven, eight, nine…


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