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Too scared to start writing

(9 Posts)
notmaryberry Sat 22-Apr-17 16:19:28

I've been thinking about writing a book for a few months now. It's a story that is based in truth, set 250 years ago and the more I research the story, the more I think it will make a great book. However, I have never written anything before so it's all a bit daunting. I'm scared it's going to be awful. I'm scared I won't know if it's awful or not! I still have some research to do on the background and around a couple of plot elements I want to add, but I don't know whether to just start writing now, or to do all the prep work first in terms of research? It's hopefully going tobe sort of Philippa Gregory style storytelling but set in the late 1700s. (I would love to aim for Jane Austen style, but am quite sure I'm not that accomplished).

TenFeetTall Sat 22-Apr-17 16:25:18

Just start. Get things down. As you write you can do research where you feel it's needed. You can edit later.

Starting is hard so just do it whilst you still love the idea and before you talk yourself out of it.

ImperialBlether Sat 22-Apr-17 16:27:39

The start of the first draft is always awful! I cringe when I'm writing it. But then you relax into it, get to know the characters better and the writing starts to flow. The real work is done on the next draft. I would just keep thinking "Finish the draft, finish the draft" otherwise you are literally stuck on that blank page. Best of luck!

HarrietVane99 Sat 22-Apr-17 16:32:49

Start writing now. As in, right now. Get off Mumsnet, make a cup of tea, and sit down with pencil and paper. There will never be a time when you think you've done all the research you possibly can. It just becomes a reason to put off writing the damn book! (Speaking from experience here.) You can, as you say, go back and fill in gaps as you go.

It doesn't matter if your first attempt is awful. You don't have to show it to anyone. In fact, your op shows you can spell and punctuate and string coherent sentences together, and get your point across in a readable manner, which is more than many people who self-publish on Kindle can do.

Even highly experienced writers don't expect a first draft to be perfect, or even good. 'Don't get it right, get it written' is a well known saying. Then you go back and edit and rewrite.

As you've never written anything before, it will take you time to develop your own voice. It's all part of the learning process.

Good luck!

CaulkheadNorth Sat 22-Apr-17 16:39:39

I would say if you're scared, then don't do it. However, if after a few days or a week and you're still thinking about the story then start writing.
No one is going to make you show it to them or anything unless you want to...

ImperialBlether Sat 22-Apr-17 17:17:19

No, Calkhead, she needs to feel the fear and do it anyway!

notmaryberry Sat 22-Apr-17 18:12:06

Thanks for your comments "feel the fear" made me laugh! Okay, I'm going to start! I was worried that starting without the complete picture might be a mistake, but I could come up with a thousand more things to 'research' to just delay the writing. Thanks everyone, I'll let you know how I get on.

HolditFinger Sat 22-Apr-17 18:15:01

Just sit down and start. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect, you can redraft and edit. But you can't edit a blank page! Honestly, I bet you'll surprise yourself with how it starts to flow. Best of luck!

Chavelita Thu 27-Apr-17 18:13:02

Honestly, I think a lot of writers would say 'Do the research after you've found a shape for the story and figured out what research you need to do.' I'm in that camp, having weighed down an earlier version of this novel with research that I thought made the fictional world more vivid, when it was really only slowing it down.

Later on I did a version of what I once read the screenwriters on Grey's Anatomy used to do (is GA still being made?) -- they would have a rough idea of medical scenarios that would fuel an episode, like a surgeon being forced to perform a surgery at gunpoint, but for the specific medical details of what the characters would need to say to one another about the surgery, the writers would just placehold with

Meredith: 'Medical medical!'
Yang: 'Medical medical!'

and consult with medical consultants late for the detail.

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