Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The start of a novel

This photo has nothing to do with the post. I am just shamelessly posting this pic of the Opera House in Vienna. Shameless!
Now that you have all admired the pic, lets move forward, shall we...

You have this idea in your head of what you think would be a really good book. It’s been rolling around for some time nagging you to do something with it. it's been keeping you up late at night and you need your sleep. I totally get you, right?  So, how do you get that story down on paper?

There are many different ways authors go about this. No one way is right. Lets just get that out of the way. Some free spirited, let the novel guide me, type people, just start at page one and then see where the novel goes. I know others who skip around in a novel, writing a variety of scenes then put the manuscript together in a start to finish format later.

Neither of these examples is me, though sometimes I wish I could let go and be that way. I like to keep things structured, or that's how I am comfortable writing.  Never in my writing have I had a character do something that I didn’t want him or her to do. This isn’t true for all authors. When I hear of this happening, something I do hear often in my writing circles, I think to myself, WOW! I would love to be in your head when that battle of wills takes place between you and your characters. I guess I am a bit headstrong so my characters don't stand a chance against me. 

Before I even start a project I always map out chapters and characters. I want to make sure I don’t get struck somewhere, not knowing where the story should go next. This way I never have to deal with writers block, a very real thing. Can you imagine writing forty or fifty thousand words and then getting stuck having no clue where you were going. Yep, it happens to authors all the time. I even know of some who actually scrap what they have written. My heart aches just thinking about it. 

I also write scenes in order. Why do I do this when I clearly know what happens at the end when I start on page one? The anticipation to write those juicy scenes keeps me moving forward everyday.  Due to the anticipation I write very, very, quickly. I am an instant gratification girl, so I like to hurry to get to the resolution. I write in the morning, 4 to 6 hours a day. It usually takes me two months to write a complete first draft. It is always error ridden and a bit flat with plot holes, but that’s what revisions are for… and those take me at least a year before the book is readable. Sounds like work right? It really is. I am so glad my day job is in my home or there is no way I would be able to write. Even then, my house looks like a bomb went off when I am writing. I except it as the trade off and thankfully my family is very supportive. 

So, today I sit in front of my computer with a novel that needs to be begun. Yes, it has been nagging me for months and I can't put it off any longer. This for me is one of the hardest parts in the writing process. The chapter sketches are done and I feel confident that this book is going to be fun to write and even more enjoyable to read.  That being said, putting the first chapter down is a bit of an overwhelming thought. It takes a lot of concentration to write a novel… headache-inducing concentration, I often am forced to take a nap after a morning of good writing. I kind of have to psych myself up to begin. I also know that once I cross that start line it’s going to be an intense roller-coaster ride until I reach THE END.

So, wish me luck. I have bought my ticket and its time to board the ride.


  1. I have in my head an idea of what I want the characters to do, where I want the story to go, and I try my best to get those scenes down as quickly as possible, but I have to do them in order, although I use bullet-points at the bottom of the manuscript for those ideas that pop into my head for later scenes, knowing if I don't write them down I'll forget them. That's not exactly an outline. I tried strictly outlining once, but I couldn't dictate which scenes went where, exactly, until they were written. That makes me part outliner and part pantser. I kinda like it that way.

    I love writing that first chapter. I know it sets the tone for the whole book.

    Oh, I'm so jealous of your trip to Vienna. My husband's family is German, mine is English. I'd love to go to Europe someday and take thousands of pictures. Someday!

    1. Debra, I think we have the same writing styles. I use a sticky note type outline so I can rearrange as needed, and to write down scenes as they pop into my head.

      Germany/Austria are one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Definitely should be on anyones bucket list, especially if thats where your husbands ancestors are from :)