It’s a writer’s nemisis, the blank page. Be it a solid sheet of white hanging out of a typewriter’s innards, or 19″ of pure blank screen staring back, with a tiny little cursor blinking there. Even if it’s a harmless sheet of college rule looking up from a notebook, there’s something intimidating about it.
Nothing else has the power to send a writer to the laundry room, or in search of a dirty dish to wash.
No other instrument on this Earth or the next can make a writer feel the need to boil water for tea, bake some cookies, or pull lint from one’s navel.
Even when the next novel is Right There, waiting not so quietly to begin. The research is complete, or at least satisfied enough for the beginning – names have been chosen, a POV figured out. Even the opening scenes are all planned out in exquisite detail. Yet still that blank page threatens. We’re terrified of it. We can’t sit down in front of one without a drink in our hands, something to snack on by our side, sometimes even a few songs keyed up on the MP3.
It’s a monster, that blank page. I saw The Grudge, and even just the other day I watched The Ring – neither of them were even a blip on my “ooh, scary” radar. But the blank page sends shivers down my spine.
Not 5 days ago, I finished my last novel, In The Time Of Dying. It’s a big one, currently (before edits) clocking in at just over 122,000 words. Epic SF tale, with space Marines, alien worlds, all the intrigue and suspense you could hope for. And, contrary to what this blank page is trying to tell me, I’m all set to write another novel. I’ve got the plot figured out, the characters are well-developed in my mind. I have the opening scenes, several other scenes, all the POV issues and details worked out. I’m excited about it, too. It’ll be a long one, I suspect, an epic SF tale with loads of all the intrigue and suspense you could hope for.
It’s called The Cold Beyond, and it’s begging to get started.
Just as soon as I can conquer this damned blank page.