“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” Ernest Hemingway
My current WIP is an old story. By that I mean I have been writing it for most of my writing life. (over 20 years) I have had it coming from the POV of a teenaged boy and and teenaged girl. I tried it as a YA romance. I tried it as a diary. I recently came to the realization that I was too wrapped up in all the stuff I’d written that didn’t work. I kept trying to cut and paste and tweak and edit my way to a good book. That’s not writing, that’s an art project.
I made the decision to read through my old stuff once and then not look at it again while I went back to work on VZ. It is both exciting and terrifying. Especially as I had been away from writing for so long.
This is a typical writing session for me now:
I sit at the screen and stare at it. I type the main character’s name. I delete it. I type it again and realize I have no idea what he is doing. I leave my Word doc open and go off to read blogs or do some online shopping or anything that ISN’T writing. I pick up my student pilot manual and read some of it until my eyes start to glaze over. I go back to my Word doc and look at the character’s name. I sigh and decide to go brush the dog.
But the book is there, just nibbling at the edge of my subconscious. I want to write it. I have to write THIS story at THIS time in my life. I know it is the right time. And then I remember Hemingway’s quote about writing just one true sentence. I think I can do that. Just one. It doesn’t even have to be a long one.
I go back to computer and start playing with verbs.
He runs . . .
He sees . . .
He thinks . . .
He likes. He likes….hmmm….I can’t work with that.
Wait, he doesn’t like. That’s better. Conflict. What doesn’t he like?
And then I have it – one true sentence. I know one thing about my MC that he doesn’t like. I know that for a fact. And when I know what he doesn’t like I know a few things he DOES like. So I write another sentence. And then a couple of more.
It’s not even a full page. Just a very small paragraph. But it’s a start.