Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Most Difficult Part of Writing - Val Tyler

The Most Difficult Part of Writing  - Val Tyler
I am sitting at my computer staring at a blank screen.
This is the most difficult part of writing… the beginning.
I have no idea how to start.

The view beyond my desk is inviting. I should be walking the hills with my dog, absorbing the fresh air and tranquility while reveling in the pure joy of living in the midst of so much beauty.

But I cannot.
Instead, I am sitting in front of a blank screen because I have an idea. It’s not much really, just a picture in my head. I’ve had it for some time. It won’t shift.
I see a tall dark lad - one could call his expression brooding. I don’t think it was before, but it is now, much like the scene through my window. Perhaps my dark sky is reflected in his black eyes, except I can see no beauty in the resentment he is feeling. There is no tranquility in his frustration.
He walks with an easy stride so as not to betray his feelings. If they cared enough to notice, his former friends might realise how he is feeling; and if resentment and frustration were his only emotions, being found out wouldn’t be so bad. But he has a deep, shameful secret.
He feels humiliated.
People see his little sister scuttling by his side. These days she is always close by - there is no one else to look after her – and so instead of hanging with his friends, he child-minds a small, innocent, vulnerable girl each and every day.
She is his humiliation. It eats away at his dignity. It lowers his self-esteem and fires his resentment and frustration to the point of fury. White hot, pounding fury.
But that is not the worst of it. He feels guilty.
His little sister is almost running by his side, trying to keep up. He knows he should slow down, take her hand, maybe even say something comforting, but he cannot. Any show of tenderness might make him crack. Then all the confusion, misery and overwhelming fear will explode out of him and they would know.
They would know everything.
That’s it. That’s the picture I have. It’s not tangible. I cannot show it to you because it doesn’t exist anywhere except in my head. I have to do justice to the events that brought him so low. I have a fair idea how he might get through it – although I’m not sure he does.
But there is more. There is something I know that he doesn’t. I didn’t know it when I first saw him walking, but I know it now. If he knew, it would break him. The reality would overwhelm him.
I need to write this down as much as I need to breathe.
It is my joy and my curse.
I cannot go outside, I cannot play with my dog; I have to write.
I must do him justice. I must tell his story and yet, my screen is blank.
This is the hardest part of writing…
…the beginning.


Penny Dolan said...

Val, I really liked the way you wrote this post, but I'm not sure that "beginning" is the most difficult part. Right now, I am in the midst of a tanglery-wordery plot knot that needs careful unpicking - and a darning of gaps! - and that situation is feeling very difficult to me. The allure of beginning on a bright, new, open idea seems very attractive at the moment. Maybe all the stages are differently difficult for everyone? Good luck with your work and hope the story is soon carrying you along with its flow.

Penny Dolan said...

Not sure, Val, that I stressed how much I liked the lyrical way that you wrote your way into this post, and captured the senses of dreaming one needs to move into the writing zone - as well as the choice between the life and people out there and the character and story developing in your head.

Sue Purkiss said...

Really interesting - want to know more!

Liz Kessler said...

This is beautiful, Val - and you've got me hooked already!

Lynne Benton said...

Wonderful, Val - sounds fascinating. Good luck with it, and I'll look forward to reading it in due course.

Val Tyler said...

Please forgive my late reply, I was having trouble getting this to post. Thank you for your comments. This is my first blog and I really wasn't sure if I was doing it right. Penny is correct, plot knots take hours of walking the hills to unpick. I should have said that the beginning is the most daunting.

Val Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Val Tyler said...

By the way, I am feeling happy about the way the story is progressing. I'll let you know if it progresses well enough to take further.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

You've touched on something that non-writers would find very odd – that the writer knows, perhaps not thoroughly, but inchoately what lies ahead for their character. There is guilt for putting them through the trauma that we know lies ahead. My consolation is that through the trauma, there will be growth. Or hopefully I'll find that growth for them while writing the story.

Val Tyler said...

Absolutely, Dianne. By the way, I love the way you spell your name.