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Ode to a Blank Page

March 8, 2012

I both love and hate the blank page.
I love it for all that potential. All that crisp white space, filled with all the ideas in the universe. Like when you know that white is all the colors. All of them are there in my white page: the hopes and dreams of a thousand characters, spread across a thousand worlds.
But I also hate the blank page, because of the way it sits there taunting me. I don’t know where to start or what to say. I don’t know how to fill my characters with hopes and dreams. I don’t know where they’re going or why, and all that white is terribly, tragically lonely.
It’s worst of all when I’m starting a new project. I have all these ideas, all these plots and characters peeking around the corners of the page, full of energy and enthusiasm, but I can’t get past that big blank wall of space. I’m so scared of those false starts, when writing is slogging through mud, my characters are flat, my dialogue is clunky, and my metaphors are like big ugly wheels of moldy cheese. All I need is one word, and one sentence to get me started. But if it’s the wrong start, I’ll slog for a few hundred or few thousand words, and then I’ll have to try again. And sometimes again. And again. Until I’ve muddled up that original beautiful idea so badly that it’s irretrievable.
That’s where I am now. New project. And I’ve already messed it up twice.
This time it’s better. I’ve got a prologue that leaps and bounds with energy and promise. I’ve got a plot just itching to get off the ground and fly. The terrain of this new story is filled with challenge and excitement, stretching the bounds of my best work as a writer. I’m already covering new ground, and I’ve barely started.
But, prologue finished, my new blank page and I just stare at each other. All I need is a word, and the confidence that this time I will succeed.
Here we go.

The city steeped herself in vanity…

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