The tarot card called the Fool is commonly interpreted as someone at the start of a journey - his bag is empty, waiting to be filled with wisdom. This motley character is walking forward into the unknown, his story ready to unfold.
I suspect most writers who embark upon a novel will understand what the Fool is going through! It is an exciting time - all those blank pages offer immense potential, with a myriad of plots and character to discover and develop. However, the writer is also faced with multiple challenges, such as undertaking in-depth research and building a narrative. To write a novel is a long journey and setting upon the road is to accept that many steps will be taken in ignorance.
Having now written four novels, I know the mixture of excitement and fear authors feel at this stage. The research alone feels like a mighty task: long hours spent in the library, books to read, websites to browse and locations to visit. I feel inadequate to the task; I lack the knowledge and experience to create the book I want. I worry my ability is outstripped by my ambition. And even when completed, will it be a book anybody wants to read? Doubts multiply at this stage. However, something keeps me going - a belief in the story, a story I want to, have to, write.
The story almost forms a movie inside my mind: I see wideshots of haunting landscapes, actions beats, engaging characters, powerful imagery. But just as an architect's model does not show the practical difficulties in constructing a building, this mind-movie does not have any solutions to the myriad of problems I'll face. This is not necessarily a problem, for this mind-movie, this (almost wincing as I type) vision, acts an inspiration, a goal to aim at, a peak to climb. The finished book, even after months and years of hard work, will never match this original vision; but I hope it will motivate me to go further as a writer, to push myself, to find greater depths in my work.
What stage of the writer's journey do you find the most challenging, or the most inspiring?