Wednesday, 20 March 2013
How to Start?
After spending the past year preparing books to put up on Kindle, and doing rewrites of previously written stories I'm finally at the point where I need to write something new. I've had the idea for the story in my head for a while, knew the location, characters and roughly what was going to happen - but for the past week I've been dithering about without actually writing anything. I set up the file, but in the header and footer and downloaded all the research material I will need – but still couldn't begin. I wondered how anyone else gets over this initial hesitation. 1. Do you plan your story in such detail that you've already got the first chapter more or less written? 2. Do you cut pictures from magazines and pin them up to give you visual clues to your characters? 3. Do you get the plot first and the characters second? 4. Do you start with action/conversation/scene setting? 5. Do you edit as you go along/each morning before you start again/wait until the end? 6. How much do you have to put down before the story takes off and writes itself? My answers to the above are as follows: I don't plan anything nowadays, although when I first started writing I had every scene mapped out. I don't see my characters in my head but I do hear them talking. For me characters come first and the story second. I start with conversation and action but rarely with scene setting. I edit as I dictate – as I use voice recognition software I have to do this or might end up with something incomprehensible. I also read what I've written the day before and alter anything that needs doing. However I don't do anything else until the book's finished. I'm delighted to say that I've now written two pages of the first chapter but it hasn't taken off yet - I think I'll need to get around 5000 words down before that magical moment occurs. At the moment I'm doing anything rather than opening the file; it's so long since I've written a new book I've almost forgotten the excitement you get when your characters come alive and you can't wait to get your desk every morning. I'm hoping the muse hasn't abandoned me. Looking forward to hearing your answers – it's fascinating learning how other writers work.