The Emporium Gazette
Issue 19 -- November 2000

In The Beginning...
by Bob Nailor

All was void, there was a nothingness that spread before the writer; a plain, glaring sheet of paper. Then there was a thought and the word was written.

A story! A writer is born. If only it was that easy.

You start with a thought. It grows and niggles at your mind. You research, and research some more, and even more research. Notes stack up and scraps of ideas clutter the work area. Characters shift and mold within your waking hours, screaming for existence.

You stall and continue the research, duplicating much of your previous work.

The characters gel. They have charisma, they have conflict, they have depth. They don't have existence. The plot thickens. The ending is climatic. All is NOT well.

You stare at the blank sheet of paper.

Where do you start? The action scene? The love scene? Back in time? In the future. Do you explain the government? What of the intrigue? What do the characters believe. Is there a formal religion? Fantasy? Science?

Questions. Hundreds of them. It's enough to craze a person. The anguish!

Where are the answers? Within the myriad words and sheaves of paper that will be typed, re-typed and edited, the solution will reveal itself.

But still, the same question raises its ugly head. Where do I start?

Sit at the typewriter, or computer keyboard, and begin writing. The words will flow. Perhaps the story will be the way you first type it. More likely, not.

Your plot will change, your characters will morph and personalities will clash. Scenes that you've played over and over within your mind will become reality... then evolve to its finality.

The structure will firm up. The cast and plot will reveal itself to you and after editing, you'll know where to start; perhaps in the middle, perhaps closer to the end.

But, where do you start? Now! Not in the future, not in the past. At the keyboard. You need to put words down, not let them mill around inside your mind.

One last word. After you get the words down, don't get caught in the next horrible and anguished loop for writers--over re-writing.

Bob Nailor is author of "The Secret Voice," an Amish-Christian story, "Pangaea, Eden Lost," an adventure story, "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold," a Celtic fantasy, and "2012: Timeline Apocalypse," an end-of-time tale. He is also included in several anthologies and collections. Check his website at

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