My First Writer's Block
Actually, three chapters into writing a book is a dangerous time. If you haven't conceptualized a plot that will carry you to the end, it will die three chapters in. As you lose sight of the shore, you need to have a great deal of courage and a good plot to venture out into the lonely high seas of writing a book.
Actually I had plots -- plenty of them -- but there were all of one kind.
Remember, I was only about 12 years old at this time with little exposure to a variety of books. I couldn't get to the big city of Chilliwack to borrow books from the huge, intimidating city library.The books in the school library were childish, just different versions of Dick and Jane. So I haunted the church library.
I was a voracious reader back then, devouring the Danny Orlis series and then onto my first romance series by Grace Livingston Hill.
She caught my fancy. She wrote simple Christian romances that began with an instant "attraction" -- which we now call chemistry -- usually to someone "forbidden" -- unsaved. The romance would turn into full-blown infatuation with a thin hint of God. Then came the big conversion followed by a romantic, heart-breaking declaration of love, ending with "the first kiss." And then of course -- the perfect marriage. I thought it was so amazing -- all of it.
So at my huge Underwood typewriter when I contemplated writing, I thought I would try to emulate the formula. It was a standard, no fail, beautiful plot. I got to chapter three -- and then stopped.
I had a huge problem -- I had never been kissed. There seemed to be a lot of opportunity for things like that -- fellows inviting me to the barn, tying me to a tree, chasing me across the fields -- threatening, intimidating and groping -- but I managed to elude them all. I wanted my first love connection to be a formula romance. Irresistible infatuation, being pursued and pursuing, declaration of faith and love -- and then that first wonderful amazing "meeting of the lips." Yet I wasn't old enough for for an adult commitment of love and marriage.
Oh, I was caught in such a dilemma as I realized I didn't have the life experience to write the book -- nor could I pursue that life experience that I wanted to write about.
About then my older sister came home with the newly released novel, Hawaii, by James Michener. She hid it under her pillow so Mom and Dad wouldn't find it. The church frowned intensely on any mention of such books. We didn't dare go to movies.
Of course, I read it when she was out. Grace Livingston Hill suddenly paled in comparison. These were much better than the formula romances. Much better!
My sisters brought home a daily diet of books and I quickly developed an appetite for all of these church-forbidden best sellers. I loved them -- they were adult. I was addicted.
Now there was a real disconnect. I could never write the books that I really loved to read. Not just because they were adult or so well written, but because the plot lines were foreign and forbidden to me. They weren't just about romance, they were graphic, adult treatment of the visceral tension between good and evil.
All of this collided with my desire to remain pure and good. I couldn't write evil!
So I was too young for my first plot -- and too innocent for the second. What was I to do?
I stared at the gigantic typewriter -- stared at my pile of paper. It was my first giant writer's block.
I tried again. I got to chapter 2.
I tried again. I got to chapter 3.