Thoughts on Starting a Novel
by MW Cook
You might be tempted to think that a writer deserves a break once he or she has finished a project. I don’t really think so, though. Writing is a habit. And there’s no reason to kick a habit in the shin once it’s started to pay off.
So I started my next book already. It’s neat to stand here, staring out at the ocean of blank pages to fill.
It’s scary, too.
I’ve got amazing plans and visions and ideas. A billion of them. They’re everywhere. And they scare the shiong mao niao out of me.
Sitting down to write a book is like deciding to procreate. It’s generally a pretty easy process to get started. But it’s a terrifying one to see through. Getting ideas is as easy as having sex. But turning those ideas into a good and true story is as hard as raising a son or daughter to fulfill all the infinite and beautiful possibilities they are born with.
So, yeah, I approach this new book with a healthy amount of trepidation.
But if writing a book is scary because it’s like raising a kid, then it’s exciting for the same reason.
My kids are wild. Ask anyone who knows them. They are bursting with personality and ideas and that wild, creative spirit that makes them little snapshots of God. And they have hardly even begun to show the world what they’re really capable of. I try to guess what they will turn into, and I can’t. Sometimes I think it’s blasphemy to even try. So I sit back, tweak things here and there, and let them run free.
Starting a novel is like that. The idea was mine. The initial acts were mine. And I retain control even as the story progresses. But, in the end, it goes wherever it wants. And I’d be a fool to hinder it.
So I stand on the brink, looking down at a virgin world, and wonder what will grow there when I start plowing and planting. It scares me, because I could screw things up royally. But it excites me, too, because the possibilites are endless. And I know, deep down, that if I just let the story be what it is, it’ll turn out fine.