I'm starting a new book today. Yay! But with a new book comes anxiety.
* Will this book be as good as my last?
* What if I start writing and realize it isn't very good?
* I avoided the saggy middle last time, but what if this middle becomes a lumpy mess?
* Will the romance journey be swoon-worthy?
* Will the spiritual journey be realistic and relatable?
* Will readers empathize with my characters?
But before any of these fears can circle my brain, one BIG fear trumps all.
Will my first sentence be a big pile of dog doo?
My initial attempts at the first sentence usually should be swooped into a "doggy waste" bag. I struggle to find just the right words to start a story. I've been known to lose hours, in some cases, days, trying to figure out the perfect opening line.
My solution? I no longer obsess about it. I write any old thing and MOVE ON. For some reason, giving myself permission to not write the perfect opening frees my brain to write the actual story. And, at some point, the right first line comes to me. Sometimes this doesn't happen until the revising stage, but what does it matter? It's the final result that counts. :)
Another thing that helps me get over this block is to read past winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest. This contest exists to reward writers who come up with the worst first line! I enjoy skimming through previous years' winning lines. Some of them will cause spontaneous, loud laughter. You've been warned!
How do you get past the pressure of writing the perfect first sentence? Share your tips!!
Have a wonderful day!