Two weeks ago, I started a brand new book. I planned it all out on post-it notes scattered about my writing room and I couldn’t wait to begin. Well obviously I had to make a cup of tea first. Then I switched on the computer, hit new page and my fingers hovered over the keyboard. And they did nothing! I sat staring at the blank piece of paper, wondering when the words were going to pour out of me. They didn’t.I went on Twitter and Facebook before returning to my blank page. I tried again. Still nothing. The white page seemed to taunt me. I tried writing various opening lines but I couldn’t seem to manage a complete sentence. Now in the past, I have written so many opening chapters knowing full well that I’m going to rewrite them when I start editing. But for some reason, I couldn’t even write a rubbish one. My fingers and brain were on strike.
I glared at my computer and thought about throwing it out the window. I took my dog for a walk before glaring at my computer again. I made myself another cup of tea, read the news, went on You Tube, went on social media again.
Then I had a brainwave.
At the top of the evil white page, I typed, Chapter Three. Suddenly my fingers flew over the keyboard. It was almost as if they had a mind of their own, as sentence after sentence filled the screen. And reading them back later that day, I thought I might actually keep some of them.
And so to anybody out there – when given a blank piece of paper at school or at home and you have no idea what to write – perhaps you could start your story at chapter three. Or chapter four or maybe even start with the end. I know of a few authors who don’t write in sequence at all. They might write chapter four, then two, then eight, before going back and filling the gaps.
It felt liberating not starting with the beginning, a bit like starting a jigsaw with the middle pieces instead of the edges. Hey – I’m a rebel at heart! ; )