Well, that is it.
I have made a start on the book.
There are now 434 words consigned to my hard disk.
This may not sound like much of a book, but there are three things to consider.
The first is that 434 words is roughly one two-hundredth part of a full novel. Or to but it another way, if I were to lash out the same number of words every day, the book should be complete in 200 days, or somewhere around the beginning of February. However, going by past experience, some days I will churn out a lot more and other days, I shall write nothing. There is also the probability that I shall erase vast tracts of it. We shall see.
The second point to consider is that there may only be 434 words, but they are probably the most important words in the book. The first sentence only contains 22 words and I would contend that those 22 words are the biggest hurdle to any writer.
Every book should start with a hook. What is a hook, you may ask?
Suppose I started a book with the words “It was a bright sunny day, and the birds sang in the hedgerows” would you read it? I am prepared to wager that it would be straight back on the shelf where it belongs, while you go looking for something more interesting.
Suppose however that the first words were “It was the second time that day that he had been murdered, and he was beginning to get annoyed”? I think you would be inclined to want to read a bit further? Hopefully you have been ‘hooked’!
Unfortunately my latest magnum opus doesn’t have such a good hook, but it is better (I hope) than the first example.
Thinking up a good hook is essential, and is worth ten times more effort than any other sentence in the entire book.
The third point about my 434 words is the very fact that they are written. I no longer have a blank canvas. Ask any painter and they will tell you that there is nothing more daunting than a blank canvas. I am now on my journey. I have plotted an approximate course, but I still don’t know exactly what adventures I will have on the way.
I am a bit nervous about the impending journey, but I’m looking forward to it too.