Coffee, Beginnings, Hooks and Coffee

So something that I suffer from when writing is loss of enthusiasm if I stay on the same piece for too long. I don't necessarily mean on a story in general, but more a certain aspect or chapter of said story. If I'm too far away from the keyboard as I have an idea in full flow running through my head, I need to write it down and quick (trust me… my memory is diabolical). The problem is, I tend to overthink and over-do when it comes to certain scenarios which in turn causes me to lose interest because I no longer want to think about that aspect and move on within the story.


I hate having that sort of reaction, but I guess that's all part of the process. Identify your weaknesses and do what you can to beat them. To stop myself from putting off writing continuously, I've started to form a second home in a local Cafe Nero. No seriously, I can now say "the usual" and the baristas know what I mean. I've only ever experienced this once before back when I was in Uni and I'm not sure whether I think it's a good or bad thing. I'm gonna go with good. The fact that I'm in public inspires (as well as forces) me to write. I mean come on, what type of person brings a laptop to a coffee shop if they have no other intent than to be on Facebook. I could easily do that on my phone.



So I've got the prologue and first chapter written which certainly wasn't an easy feat. That's one of the hardest things I find about writing. The blank page may look like an empty canvas with which to create something wonderfully astounding and lyrically poetic, but it can also be a huge pain in the ass. Finding a place to start is hard. Sometimes where you want to start a story isn't actually the best place to start at all. The first time this happened to me was a few years ago when I had written what I thought was an awesome beginning, but once I took it to a class workshop I was torn to shreds and told it was unnecessary and that it didn't feel like the start. And he was right. The beginning of the story actually started at least half way down that page, at the place where the reader was actually hooked in and wanted to keep reading.



All I can say to that is: word splurge. It doesn't matter if it's awful, that's what the editing process is for, but at least it's something, a springboard for you to leap from, where you can identify your start. Everyone needs a hook. When you listen to a song, it's the hook that keeps a listener; it may be a different medium, but it's exactly the same for a reader. How many times have you gone into a bookstore, read the first line of a book and put it down? You have one shot to entice someone to read your work so you better make it good! This is where asking for an outside opinion is useful. Get someone to read what you've written and ask where they were first hooked into the story. Maybe it's a certain metaphor or an explanation or piece of description. Either way, it's probably not where you first thought it was.

About Jenny Eckloff