Friday, October 17, 2014

First Page Blues

By: Deirdre Verne

I struggle with the first few paragraphs of anything. This blog entry alone has been started and trashed at least five times. Within seconds of churning out the first paragraph, I almost always require immediate feedback. I’m not asking for much. A simple ‘you’re on the right track’ from just about anyone is enough to boost my confidence. Without the thumbs up, I have trouble continuing to the second page. Once I get going, however, I’m good for the next three hundred. But that first page! It’s a killer.
A writer friend of mine warned me recently about soliciting criticism. “Never show your work to your family until it’s published,” she said. 
Good advice -- ten years too late. Enter my husband. He now refuses to read my writing, insisting that I purposely killed him off in the opening scene of my first (unpublished) book. Talk about sensitive. It’s not like I’m writing a memoir.
Then I tried my mother. She loves to read and she loves me. She’s also a teacher. Her only attempt to read my writing started with her licking the tip of a red pen. Let’s just say it didn’t end well.
Based on my prior experiences, I’ve trained myself to complete an entire chapter without external input. Then I seek out a peer from my writing group to provide constructive and actionable criticism. I still need the occasional pat on the back, but I’ve learned to replace my need for immediate gratification with a heaping bowl of ice cream.

1 comment:

Tracy Weber said...

The first page is BRUTAL. Almost as brutal as someone not liking it. Almost.