I started a new book two weeks ago, so I'm in what I call (and probably many other writers) the honeymoon phase. This is my favorite time during the process of writing a book because I'm generally the most productive, or at least I feel the most productive. Full blown scenes and sections of dialogue--all kinds off possibilities--flow like sweet wine from brain to fingers on the keyboard.
Part of why I'm feeling this way might have something to do with having a terrible time writing my last book. In fact, I'm still not finished with it. But I got so far behind my own schedule that I decided it was best to start up the next book and go back to the problem child after school starts up and the house gets quiet again.
In any case, though, the beginning of books is generally an exciting time for me. I'm learning about my characters. The time line, motivations, goals, plot, etc... are still evolving, so nothing is set in stone. Anything can and does happen.
In contrast, the middle of the book tend to be something, we as writers have to slog through, I think. I HOPE like heck my readers don't feel that way when they're deep into my stories, but often middles can be difficult to write. So much has to happen to tie that beginning to the ending.
I heard something interesting from a fellow writer at conference in Orlando. She was talking, I think to a Harlequin exec, who told her that many Japanese readers like to jump right from the beginning of books to the end. I guess writers aren't the only ones who hate the middle of books!
Endings are exciting, too, because things are--hopefully--coming together. It can be another very fast time in a book. As a writer, you know what has to happen, you know what work your characters need to finish. It's just a matter of getting it all down.
So if you're a writer, what's your favorite stage in your process? And if you're a reader, what's your favorite part to read in a book, beginning, middle or end?
And another question ... they say the beginning of a book hooks the reader, but the ending is what determines the next purchase of a book by this author. True by you?