I Am Not Beatrix Potter

Here is a quote from Beatrix Potter, (saw it on Goodreads and Tumblr):

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

I want you to know, this is not my experience. At all. The first words of a story are fraught with danger, self-loathing, and enough second-guessing to make a superstitious man hug a black cat. The first words of a story have to hook the reader and set up that all-important first page of the story. The first page being the place where your reader forgets they’re in a bookstore and is transported to a magical place where the only thing they ever want to do is read your book until it ends, and then throw themselves down on a chaise lounge in a fit of despair because it’s over.

Like, no pressure or anything.

However, daydreaming the first words of a story, now THAT is delicious. It’s fudge-made-by-old-ladies delicious. No pressure, just dreaming, pondering, mixing all the different ways your character could strut onto that stage you’ve been building in your head. But again, here’s where I vary from Miss Potter (whom I love because she had that secret romance with Ewan McGregor in the movie and then married that younger lawyer, get it girl): I know where I want the first words to lead. I plan my stories, I plot them so hard, I track inner journeys on a hand-written chart and cover countless removable post-its with possible explosive disasters I can throw at my characters. Miss Potter sounds like more of a “write by the seat of your pants” person, which is totally fine for her and countless others. But if her quote fills you with confusion and arguments, which then lead to guilt because what kind of monster argues with Beatrix Potter about anything,  you might be a “planner” type. This is also cool.

I love quotes by other writers because they show me who I am and who I’m not, but we’re all still welcome at the same party. Party on!

One thought on “I Am Not Beatrix Potter

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  1. I’m pretty sure Tolkien also plotted so hard and planned his stories.

    You’re in good company!

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