So I’m almost to that 100 page mark in starting a new book….magic number 100. Goes with 1, the number of fresh starts, and 1000…which has to be the number of too long a book since the editor’s going to chop it bloody (or make it a trilogy).
Anyway, folks are showing up, voices are coming along, story’s developing, a few surprises have popped up (thank god — that always makes me feel better when a story goes from no heat to low simmer). So I think there’s a book here. Not sure, yet, actually, but it’s past those early pages when the whole thing can collapse like a souffle since there’s no light structure to hold it up.
What I’ve found is that one chapter is an idea. Three chapters is a good start. Five or six and it’s cooking with gas, and there may be a book here.
And, of course, I’m also at that stage where I think the start of a story is the hardest. What do you need for the reader to get into the story, what’s too much, is a good plot twist or one that’s going to come bite me later, or…? Well, this is what a reader’s for, to sort through the story with fresh eyes.
So, with Act 2 looming (also thank god), I can start to get ready for the stage where I think the middle of a book is the worst part. Is there enough tension, how do I get more conflict in there, what’s a really good twist that’s not going to take the poor thing’s head off, and is this foreshadowing or just beating the reader over the head, and how do I get another sexy scene in there…? Also all stuff for a reader to sort out.
The ends never feel tough to write–by then it’s a rock rolling downhill (one hopes). But the worry doesn’t stop. Did I foreshadow this, did I not foreshadow that, oh, hell, this person now is talking the way they should have in chapter one, and am I wrapping up that great scene that set up one of the main subplots, and…? This is the place where the book gets a couple of weeks resting–like good bread, which you hope will rise after you’ve beaten your knuckles flat on it.
But no rest for now….it’s gone from picking at the pages to needing to get my hands on them every day (also a good sign). It’ll be even better when I start dreaming about it, or can’t go to sleep due to the conversations in my head.
And I still feel as if starts really are the hardest things to get right–so much depends on a good start for the story (including if someone will buy the thing).