Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Slaying the White Page Monster!

Well, a couple of days ago I blogged about my difficulty starting a new manuscript.  But, thanks to a strategy that I kind of stumbled onto, I’m currently on page 39!  Yippee for me.
Of course, they’re 39 of the worst pages you’ve ever read!  Honestly, I bet I’ve used the phrase “and then” at least twice each paragraph.
But…I am on a roll!

I have beaten the dreaded white page monster, thank you very much!  And this is how I did it….

I just started writing.  And this, I think, was the key—I didn’t write about my manuscript!


Picture this…. 

I’m staring at the computer.  The words “Riddle in Stone: Book Three by Robert Evert” laughing at me. 


Every few seconds I’d say something like, “Okay! Let’s get started!” or “Alright! All I have to do is buckle down!” or “This is it! I am starting right…now!” 

And each time, I’d check my e-mail.

DAMN SPAM! Where are you when I need you??

So what I did was just start writing anything that came into my mind.  It wasn’t going to go into the manuscript. I knew that. But I needed to cover the page with words.  And I needed to get into the right “mind set.”  I had to easy myself into my fantasy world, like somebody sliding into a hot bath.

I started writing something like this:

Edmund (my main character) and the Undead King (my main antagonist) pull up two chairs in a crappy roadside diner.

“So, what are we supposed to do?” Edmund asked, looking around.

The Undead King wiped up a glob of ketchup hardening on their table. He tucked his handkerchief back into his vest pocket, flames and shadow rippling off of the expensive fabric.

“I don’t know,” he said, shifting in his wobbly chair. “I think Rob’s having a nervous breakdown or something.”

“Quite possibly.”

A waitress emerged from the crowd, pad of paper in hand. “What can I get you two?”

“A clean table?” the Undead King suggested, his shadowy fingers sticking to everything he touched.

“Don’t mind him,” Edmund said. “He’s the Lord of the Nether Regions.”

“And even there we have something called Clorox. Honestly, can we have a damp towel or something?”

“Could we have a few minutes?” Edmund asked, grimacing an apology.

“Sure honey. I’ll check on you in a bit.” The waitress smiled and walked away.

“Seriously,” the Undead King said, trying not to touch anything. “Why are we here?”

Edmund shrugged.  “Haven’t a clue.”

The duck in the third seat quacked.

“There’s a duck?” the Undead King said, shaking his head.

“I thought he was with you.”

“Mental. Absolutely mental.”

“At least Rob’s tenured. He can do whatever he wants. Crazy probably helps in academia.”

“I don’t think he’ll ever finish this damn third book.”

“Quack!” agreed the duck.

“It’s a shame,” Edmund said, wishing that the jukebox would stop playing ‘Call me maybe.’ “I hear that I’ll get to kill you in the end.”

The Undead King snorted. “If I eat here, I’ll probably die a lot sooner. Come on, let’s leave.”

“We could just start killing people,” Edmund suggested, eyeing the teenagers dumping quarters into the jukebox. “We can do whatever we want.”

The Undead King stood up, his carefully pressed pants peeling away from sticky chair. “Come on! Let’s get to work. Where were we before? At the end of book two? Something about you and Molly?”

And then I started writing the real stuff!!  Though I miss the duck.



  1. Hahaha! That was hilarious! Yeah, I used to have white page syndrome as well, but lately I'm finding that starting is easier than it used to be. I started the first chapter of my second book a couple of days ago and finished it up today, then started chapter two. I write each chapter in its own file, so every time I start a new chapter I'm faced with a white page. Maybe that's the reason why the white page syndrome has been easier to combat.

    1. Glad you liked it. Duck make everything funny. And it seemed to work. I've written quite a bit today.

      I can't imagine starting each chapter on a blank page! Ugh! The torment!

      Thanks for stopping by!!!

  2. Ah, funny! LOL! What an enjoyable read. Really! I love to see how other authors "slay the white page." Or the "white screen," as the case may be.

    1. Glad you dug it! I wish I could write a whole book like that. But I'm sure it would get tiresome for the reader.


  3. I love doing out-of-context scenes with my characters like this, but I've never thought of trying it as a slay-the-white-page technique. Maybe I'll make my dissertation into a character and sit down and have a looong chat with him...

    1. It was rather fun, Sil. Doing a dissertation? Fun. I miss those days. What's it on?

      Thanks for stopping by! Visit when you can:)

  4. That puts a new twist on interviewing your characters! Most of mine, upon finding themselves in a diner, would just want to try the pie. They have healthy appetites.