Wednesday, 29 July 2009

How would you start?

A couple of days ago, I received this email.
Hi Josh
I have read a lot of your books and really do like them.

How would you start writing a book?

I am now on an edge of writing a book do you have any good tips for me?

Thanks

Kirsten
It’s a very good question and one that puzzles me regularly. I wish I knew the answer. And it raises all sorts of other questions too. Where do you start a book? With a character? A situation? A scene? A snatch of dialogue? And why do you start a book? Aren’t there enough books already? Why should you add to the pile? What can you do that someone else hasn’t already done better?

I’m just about to start a new book myself and I hardly know how to begin answering these questions. Or how to begin the book.

Whenever I start a book, I spend days, even weeks, pacing around, peering out of the window, washing dishes, flicking through books, playing on the internet, and doing just about anything apart from sitting at my desk and putting words together to make a story.

I have to remind myself that all this uncertainty is not merely creative, but necessary.

Order comes out of chaos.

Eventually.

And if you’re lucky.

When I talk to my friend Eric about starting a book, he always says the same thing: just start writing. Let your subconscious take over. You’ll be surprised by what comes out.

I can’t really offer any better advice.

Anyway, I do know how to start writing a blog: answer an email that you’ve been sent by a stranger. Thank you, Kirsten, for your message. And good luck with your book. I hope the words flow fast, the pages pile up and publishers come clamouring to your door.

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