There was a time, not long ago, when my favorite part of writing a book was writing those first couple of pages. A blank sheet of paper (yes, I'm old school and still write quite a bit by hand) was my idea of heaven.
Now I'm consumed with doubts when I go to start a new book. (Specifically a new Hitwoman book... other stories are a different beast altogether.)
I panic that I won't be able to make the new book better than the previous book.
Then I worry that I won't be able to make it as good.
Then I worry it'll just plain suck. This can be a paralyzing concern.
I feel like I owe readers a wild, funny, frenetic, emotional ride. I'm no longer just writing a story. I'm holding up my end of the bargain of a relationship with those who are invested in Maggie, God, and the gang.
So I worry over the opening sentence like you wouldn't believe. Seriously. It took me SIX DAYS to come up with the opening line of the next book THE HITWOMAN HUNTS A GHOST.
Six days??? Some might say the entire world was created in that time.
Six days to come up with: You know it's going to be a bad day when God tells you to call in sick.
And half that sentence was already predetermined. (All the books begin with "You know it's going to be a bad day when...".) So it took me six days to come up with "God tells you to call in sick." That averages out to just over a word a day. And they're all single syllable words!
So yes, I'm battling a massive case of New Book Nerves.
On the flip side, it's been so gratifying to see how much readers are enjoying THE HITWOMAN AND THE NEUROTIC WITNESS. I guess IT doesn't suck. ;-)
Tell me Killer Friends: As a reader, how important is the first line/paragraph/page of a book?
As a writer, does it take you six days to write seven words??