That’s what the first words of a book are, right?
The tease of what’s to come, the seduction that keeps your eyes moving. Equal exchange. Transference of energy. If you’re good to me, i’ll be good to you.
Those first words don’t have to be poetic, or beautiful. They just have to be constructed into a sentence, a paragraph, a first page that doesn’t leave you feeling like, “Ohhh-kay, nah. Pass.”
but… it’s tough.
I just deleted – not saved somewhere, just highlighted and hit the backspace key – 729 words.
There was nothing wrong with those words – and I say this as an author who doesn’t write in drafts. I wrote what I intended the first time, and if for some reason I didn’t, I realize it pretty quickly, and those words go into the ether. There is no “fix it in revision.”
They gotta go, cause they aren’t… right.
So… this morning, 729 words went away. I fixate on that number because of the way I write – again, no “drafts”. I don’t dwell too much over word choice or composition, I just put it down as it comes out, but I live by a “no wasted words” philosophy. If I delete something, it hurts. It cuts. But they can’t just stay there because “nothing’s wrong”. They have to go because they aren’t… right.
There’s nothing technical about my declaration of my words – or anyone else’s, for that matter – as “wrong” or “right”.Climaxes and black moments and denouements and all that shit… it doesn’t cross my mind. My prose isn’t beautiful or sophisticated. I just.. write stories with their natural flow, as it comes to me.I don’t give it less, and I don’t force it to give me more – which I know frustrates readers sometimes, I apologize – I just give it what it gives me, and it works on the page, and I’m grateful for that. I just write until I’m hitting the right notes, and those 729 words this morning… were just slightly off key.
You can’t start in the wrong key.
After that, everything is a mess. The rhythm isn’t right, it’s pitchy, maybe the lyrics are little off. And you stop, and adjust, make major changes, rewrite the song and still… the vibe is wrong. That’s not m y method.
Start over, in the right key.
It’ll be right this time.
Cause i’m not deleting anymore damn words.