Explained: Writing the first page

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Here's the thing

Writing a book generally consists of approximately thirty thousand stages. Depending on who you talk to the first stage, the blank page, is either the hardest or the easiest part or why are you writing this Mia when you could be finishing writing your book? (answer: because this is currently easier than writing my book ofc 😅😅)

I like to drown out the latter portion of people (ie myself) with heavy tea drinking and loud bouts of Taylor Swift songs but use whatever music you have to hand, no judgement.

So how do you write that first page?

Honestly, if you've stumbled across this blog I feel like you've probably at least already written a title or have some idea of what you're doing but in case you're stuck for ideas the general point of a first page is that it's okay to suck.

Once you get over the feeling of having wasted 25-30 years of your parents time existing and that nagging feeling that an ongoing life crisis is definitely looming, there's something very freeing about a blank page with endless possibilities so really try to go wild at this stage.

Dancing

Write like nobody is watching, and forget about punctuation if it intimidates you. Chances are nobody will see this in its current form so you can really go to town with what you most enjoy. If that's world-building then stop and smell the roses, creating your own unique universe. If that's dialogue make a point of not using dialogue tags and instead really get into the meat of what people are saying. You know what you love best.

After you've written 500 words or so this might be an ideal place to pause.

If it feels right, look up from your notebook and take in what's around you.

Look around

Maybe acknowledge the loud cough a family member just spontaneously made in your direction and contribute something to the dinner table. I'd reccomend something like 'surely, that's axiomatic' to really delay anyone asking you anything again b/c in my 26 years of life I've discovered that nobody really knows what that phrase mean so you've bought yourself at least 30-40 minutes.

Once the overwhelmingly crushing feeling of being an adult and yet somehow knowing you have no house, love interest, or proper career are pushed to the side you can really focus on the story you want to tell.

As a pantser (I can't plan anything📕) I'd reccomend writing at least to the end of a scene or beyond to the end of a few chapters before you stop and consider what you're doing. By this point the room should have emptied and it's probably time for an office tea break anyway.

The next steps

Joking aside (am I joking? I'm not sure anymore😐), once you'd pushed beyond a 1000 words you'll either find this overwhelming urgh to start containing and organising all the ideas that are currently spewing out of you at a million miles an hour or, like me, you'll be eager to just press on.

Press on, by all means, if you want!

I generally start making new documents or new sections in Scrivener in order to organise my thoughts just a little as I dive into the unknown.

A key thing about your first page is that it's going to change. Writing is half about writing and half about editing. So don't get too attached.

I say this as a person who is forever and consistently attached to my first pages 😳.

But first pages are like a dewy piece of untrodden grass on a spring morning aren't they? Or the smell of falling leaves on an Autumn day. They're gorgeous. Not just mine, I mean. Everyone's first pages are special. There's a magic in them that resists definition.

As for where to go next?

Recently I've been loving Holly Lisle's advice to be just super fantastic! She knows a lot and gives a lot, and she's great for when you need some advice on just where to start with everything.