Writing the beginning of a book is like jumping into a new romance. Everything is fresh and interesting and delicious. The road before you stretches into so many possibilities. Your days are filled with that heady rush of magic, that springtime-of-the-soul sensibility.
All you want to do is sit and stare into the eyes of your book for hours on end.
And then you hit that weird point somewhere around Chapter 5.
Writing a novel is a big undertaking. All those words! My friends and family have said to me. How do you have it in you to write all those pages? But the word count is the least of a writer’s concerns. There’s also plot structure, character development, pacing and language to worry about, among other things.
Novels are complicated. With all the moving parts involved, they’re a lot like a complex machine that no one has ever seen before. And you’re the inventor.
In our world, everything keeps getting faster.
Even in just the last one hundred years, the pace of modern society has zoomed forward astronomically. We jump online and talk to friends instantly, or we jump on a plane and travel a distance in one day that would have taken months using an old-fashioned horse and carriage. We get information where and when and how we need it, and it seems like every kind of commodity we could ever want or need is available at our mega-superstores.
Writers frequently find themselves searching for answers to the strangest questions.
What’s the difference between telepathy and telekinesis? Have the Rolling Stones ever played a show in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? What actually lives in underwater caves?
If you’re writing a story—any story—chances are that you’ll run into questions that need answers. And these answers are usually relevant, if not essential, to your storyline. When you hit an impasse like this it suddenly seems urgent that you stop writing and turn to research instead. The rational, logical part of your brain steps in and advises that you can’t possibly go on creating your story if you don’t have all the facts yet.