Sunday, May 19, 2013

How to start a new novel in 22 easy steps.

1. Open a new Word document.

2. Save it as tentative book title.

3. Wonder if any other books have this title.

4. Check twitter.

5. Google tentative book title.

6. Feel relieved that you're somewhat original.

7. Type the title and "Chapter One" in Word document.

8. Check email.

9. Check facebook.

10. Stare at blinking cursor in Word document.

11. Check latest favorite blogs & tumblrs. (If you're wondering: The Bloggess, The Unslut Project, Title to Come, and What Should We Call Me)

12. Type first sentence.

13. Click "save."

14. Feel accomplished.

15. Feel thirsty.

16. Refill water glass.

17. Check twitter.

18. Click on five different-yet-equally-inane HuffPo links.

19. Stare at blinking cursor after first sentence.

20. Realize that, though this is book #3, you've totally forgotten how to start a novel.

21. Write blog post about it.

22. Type second sentence?

Here's the truth: I've had two awesome brainstorming sessions for my next book, first while waiting for my car to be fixed, and again with Frankie, and I'm very excited about it. But I still find it so, so intimidating to start a new WIP.

I know that I need to barrel forward, and my next step will be to just start writing the first scene I WANT to write, not the uber-difficult beginning — anything to get the creative energy flowing. It's all about diving in and being ok with being terrible. That's First Drafts 101.

But I've been in revision mode for so long that I almost forgot how awful a blank page can be, when you haven't established a character's voice and certain plot points are a little (or a lot) vague.

There are writers out there who can tap out a first draft like no one's business. This post is for anyone like me, who is sooooo not one of those lucky, lucky writers.

Repeat after me: I can do this!


Help! What's your tried-and-true method of breaking through the Chapter One, Draft One writer's block? Leave it in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. So true, Donna. And funny!

    I usually start typing as fast as I can a lot of random notes about the characters. Maybe after that first sparkling sentence, heh heh. And I always have in mind a few scenes, even sometimes the end scene, so I'll write those. It's very messy. But that's what it's supposed to be.

    Still get stuck in the middle, though, since I'm not a plotter. That's why I only have two completed novels, and three half novels. I WILL FINISH THOSE!


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