I’ve been struggling to start my first chapter, let alone write the first three as I previously planned to do. Since an extreme case of writer’s block fell upon me, I decided to look over the works of the greats (other phenomenal writers), and study how they dove into the most important part of the book: the beginning.
A few years ago, in eighth grade I believe, we were assigned an excerpt to read from Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. He began the book with a hook line, and overall attention-grabbing first paragraph. The following is an excerpt from his fictional autobiographical novel.
“It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint—it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
Many of us have learned that in essays and books alike, starting off with an attention grabber is key. This is definitely an easier technique in some cases as opposed to others, and, although I thought this would be extremely easy when writing a fiction novel because of the amount of room left for creativity; however, I soon discovered that this was not the case. Indecisiveness is my curse, and the worst one to have as an author. The intro was easy to write, as it won’t have to be built off of or connected to the main storyline until later on in the book. The first chapter, on the other hand, has been the most difficult struggle I’ve had to face in my time as a writer.
Although Vizzini’s work in the beginning of his novel was undoubtedly inspiring, it did not help with my unrelenting writer’s block. I resorted to scrolling through whatever pictures came up when I typed life into Google Images, and I was stuck on two photos. One of the images depicted life’s two paths, which in my point of view are intertwined, and symbolized the many trials and tribulations of life, things that I’ve had to face and will face in the future, times and events that I’ll write about in the book. The second image, as seen above, reads, “Life has no Control Z”, which is the shortcut to undo an action on a computer. I think this quote gave me a bit of an idea as to another theme I wanted to touch on in my novel: the want to go back, the theme of the past and rewinding undesirable occurrences or interactions.
In the movie Click, Adam Sandler’s character is gifted with a remote that allows him to rewind, fast-forward, and skip. He realizes that when one is able to sort out what he wants to experience and doesn’t wish to, he loses a valuable and fundamental aspect of life: living. Even the bad times are good times when looking from a broader lens. Experiences, good, bad, and in between, mold us and make us stronger, better human beings.
My writer’s block may not be entirely solved, but it will weaken over time, and I have a feeling something magnificent will come out of such a frustrating thing.
The pictures from the book are directly from the cover and the first chapter of the novel.
The first picture in the second segment came from Entreprenuer.com:
Pic number 2 is from the Growth revolution basic system of IT website: