Saturday, January 26, 2013

Imaginary Roadblock

Fear is a dream killer.  Your dream sits fine as long as it stays a dream.  But as soon as you commit to putting feet to your dream, fear sets in.  What if I really can't do this?  Writing a newsletter is an easy sprint, but writing a book is a marathon.  What if I don't have what it takes? Dreams in action are dangerous and scary.

So I waited several months before writing the first sentence.  After all, the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first chapter are the most important parts of the book.  If the first sentence is boring, the reader may never taste the second.  If the first paragraph is predictable, the reader fails to turn the page.  If the first chapter isn't inspiring, the reader quits and finds a movie.

So I searched for the perfect opening, calling it "waiting on inspiration" rather than fear of failure.  The first sentence has to have punch, interest and intrigue.  It is the hook in the reader's mind.  Short sentences that say something interesting have power.  I wanted a short, powerful opening. Look at the first sentence to this blog for an example.  I wrote and rejected hundreds of them.  All of them fell just short of perfection.  I was stalling.

I love adventure.

It wasn't perfect, but it was short.  It might make the reader wonder what kind of adventure I loved. Would that be enough for motivation for a second sentence?

Several years ago, our family drove the bushveldt of Etosha National Park, in search of African game.

Americans are intrigued with African animals, right?  I even used the Dutch spelling of bushveldt to add more spice.  Voila!  I'd started.  Two sentences and the book felt like it was half done.