When I’m starting a new story I sort of have to sneak up on it. Even when I know exactly how it’s going to start I usually get quickly bogged down. I’m like an actor during rehearsal trying to remember his lines and hit his marks. I’m not comfortable, the process isn’t second nature to me, I’m thinking about things I shouldn’t be thinking about. And the voice in my head, the one that’s nagging me to get on with it, sounds an awful lot like Evil Genius in Time Bandits talking smack about the Supreme Being:
If I were creating the world, I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would’ve started with lasers, eight o’clock, day one.
More like 9:30 for me today and I didn’t get anywhere near butterflies and daffodils. More like slugs which my inner Evil is saying
Slugs! He created slugs! They can’t hear, they can’t speak, they can’t operate machinery.
Exactly. I want my characters to be operating the heavy machinery already. I want them to be hurling the plot forward with the gravitational pull of the sun, not lumbering beneath it like a clumsy sloth trying to extract itself from the tar pits.
First draft, first day, first pages. I have to trust they’ll get better. I have to trust I’ll find the voice and tone soon enough, and then when it’s over I can come back to the beginning like some e.e. cummings poem and make it flow more evenly.
Rough, rough, very rough.