Getting Started

I had an interesting conversation with another writer the other day.  He said that for him, the language has to come first.  I have read some of his writing, and it doesn’t surprise me because the language is truly beautiful. 

It struck me that voice is one of the last things that comes for me.  In the first draft, the narrative voice floats in and out because it’s not what I’m concentrating on.  I can’t say that I concentrate on anything except getting it down.  Nothing seems to make that any easier except plugging away at it.  Sometimes I might ‘hit my stride’ for a bit, but more often than not I’m just slugging away, bit by bit, til it’s done.

And to be honest, I’m not unhappy about this, as there’s not much that stops my writing (other than sickness, tiredness, business, and any other procrastination excuse I can think of!).  However, it does make me wonder if I found that magical thing that pulled my work together, maybe the first draft would happen more easily and require less revising later on. 

Does anyone else have anything that they have to work on before they can start writing?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janettedalgliesh
    Jan 24, 2010 @ 07:40:57

    For me, characters come first, every time. As they emerge into conscious thought, they bring with them the basic brushstrokes of their world (modern urban, colonised space, ancient times, etc). And they also bring with them their stories.


  2. Graham Storrs
    Jan 24, 2010 @ 08:18:58

    For me, it is the theme. This may be vague but, until I have it, I don’t know what the book is ‘about’ so I can’t even begin. After that, I need a story to tell and, somehow, when I start thinking about that, I find the ‘world’ and the characters in it who make the story happen. Then the real fun starts – building the world and elaborating the characters. After that, I can just let the characters go and work their way through the plot. My job then is to follow them through to the end and write down what they do!


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