The work-writing combination

625469_10200765814763420_644865026_nFriday I’m in love. Because tomorrow it will be weekend and weekend means time to write.

I try to work on my manuscript a little bit every day, but in the weekend I get to write for hours on end. By Sunday evening I should even be able to see a noticeable difference in my word count. When I have been writing on a new chapter, it should have went up (fun fun fun!), if I have been rewriting, it should have gone down quite a bit (less fun, but necessary).

Yet every Sunday evening, when I look at what I’ve really achieved… well, it kinda makes me feel like sticking my pants down and moon the hell out of everybody who spent the whole weekend chilling by a poolside sipping beer. Especially my boss, who expects me back on the job the following morning. Continue reading

Blast in with a hammer – about writing a great opening line

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Why start like this…

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… or this…

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… when you can start like this? © sxc

“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.”

Unfortunately I did not write this brilliant opening line, Jay McInerney did. It’s the first line of “Bright Lights, Big City”. It makes you want to read on, doesn’t it? Not only does this line set the tone, it raises quite a few questions.

Try rereading the line. You cannot help but wonder: 1. Who, me? 2. What guy is he then? But especially: 3. Where is he? 4. And what time of the morning is it? You just know it’s not going to be a tearoom at nine thirty, right? So how bad is the damage?

The value of a good opening line can hardly be overestimated, I personally think. When you meet a person, the first seconds will determine whether you like this person or not. A book is not that different.

Raising questions is an important key, I think. Questions will impell the reader to keep reading in search of answers to these questions.

Simple entertainment is a second key. A guy in a place like that, at that time of the morning, who should not be there… That ‘s a pretty good promise you won’t get bored.

Right now I’m working on the manuscript for my second novel. So I’m trying to write a punching opening line myself. At the moment, this is what I’ve got (well, a translation of it):

“Do you see that guy? Over there, in the dark between those trees. I’ll be damned if that’s not our guy.”
“Shit, you’re right, there’s someone standing there.”

The two policemen start to walk in my direction.

After a lot of thinking and trying, I decided to start ‘in medias res’, in the middle of the action. The questions I hope this raises, are: 1. Who is this guy? 2. Why is the police after him? What has he done? 2. Will they catch him?

At this point I’m quite happy with this opener. But I’ve still got a few months of pondering and rewriting ahead of me, so nothing has been carved in stone so far.

I hope you like it to! So, if you’ve got an opinion on this and a spare minute, please let me know what you think!

Post-holiday chaos

This is kinda what happens when I have too many ideas and not enough time to actually write.
Picture: Photobucket

When I say post-holiday chaos, I don’t (only) mean the mess of wrinkled sundresses and damp washcloths I tend to pull out of my suitcase. I’m not even referring to the giant amount of mail and e-mail I have to plow through. It’s the chaotic rubble of ideas that traveling usually leaves in my mind I want to talk about. Continue reading

Pc or paper?

Work of the first generation.
Picture: almost written

Writing on a computer, or the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper? This question appears to roll onto this page like a fossil, a battered dinosaur that should have been stone-dead for ages. Yet, since a year or two, I’ve started to use notebooks again. I feel that this has had a good influence, on the quality of my writing as well as my productivity. Continue reading

Have more fun

Starting today, I’m going to quit writing novels. Picture: rr

At a meeting for wannabe-writers last year I heard a remarkable confession. “Actually I hate writing”, an established writer said. Gathering ideas, doing research, having work published, those things he all loved, but the actual writing process, he dreaded.

And it got even better. Apparently, a lot of colleagues are coping with the same problem. The capital issue is finding a good location, with as little distraction as possible, in order to actually get something on paper. One writer dragged his computer to the garage. Another one purchased a season ticket and rides around on trains until he’s finished for the day. Continue reading