Working on a new novel can be nerve wracking. You’ve got so much to say, so much to convey, setting and situation to establish, pacing to figure out. How much do you reveal, how soon? What’s the right amount of exposition? Obviously as little as possible, but something needs to be said to contextualize what’s going on. You type a paragraph, sit back, scrutinize it. Does it flow? Does it sound natural? Are you appealing to all five senses? Are you getting melodramatic, or understating things?
Really it feels like stepping out onto an ice covered lake. Except you don’t know how thick the ice is. So you feel forward with the toe of your shoe, gradually putting your weight onto each step, listening for that dreaded cracking sound. Almost blindly moving forward, tentative and hesitant, unsure as to the right path or direction, but knowing you have to keep going.
At least I’m making headway. I’m two thirds through Chapter 1, about 1929 words in, and I think it’s working. I think it’s moving forward, and I’ve got this wonderful mixture of fear and excitement over writing the next part, the next Chapter, of sitting down and putting more words at the bottom of the document. As if what’s there is as precarious and beautiful as a spiderweb, and adding more might just ruin the whole thing, tear it apart. But how can I stop? I can’t.
So I’ll just keep on sliding each step over the ice, and hope to never hear that dreaded sound of cracking.