The Blank Page

There is one thing I fear as a writer, and that is staring at the blank page at the beginning of a new project. I think most writers feel this way; some even admit it. Have I chosen the right story? Have I researched enough to make the story sound at least a little plausible? Is the story idea even good enough to warrant the time I’m going to spend writing it? This is where pre-writing comes in.

At some point you just have to suck it up and start writing, but how do you go from that blank page of fear all the way to putting actual words on it? In

Facing a blank page…

the many years I’ve been writing, I’ve gone from being a Pantser (just starting a story with a very vague idea in mind), to being an all out planner. I know before I start writing what is going to happen in each chapter, and sometimes even in each scene as well. The process of pre-writing fascinates me. And it’s that prewriting that now helps to keep me from fearing the blank page as much as I used to.

I’m not saying you Pantsers out there have the wrong end of the stick. Going into a story with little to nothing in the way of planning can be a liberating experience that can lead to some beautiful, spontaneous writing. On that same hand, however, it can also lead to chapter after chapter of rambling nonsense that ultimately needs to be rewritten or cut. I avoid a lot of that with prewriting because I absolutely hate editing. I wrote it once; it should be perfect, right? Of course it should. Maybe not. With pre-writing, i can cut down on the editing phase quite a bit.

I’ve worked to hone my pre-writing process to the point that I basically have a series of worksheets I use to plan out my new stories. In roughly ten hours I can have my entire plot worked out with characters, inciting incidents and whatever else it takes so I can begin writing, knowing exactly what I want to do and where to start. And once I start, there is no stopping until I get to the end of it.