The time has come. No amount of procrastinating or ‘research’ will better prepare me to start.
It’s time to dive in.
It’s interesting to read this equivalent post from the beginning of my second novel – Second Novel Finally Started! – it’s funny to see I’m in exactly the same position again, especially after reading this post from 3 months after that previous one – New novel binned, starting again – why do I do this?!
I’ve got two main characters, motivations, a plot, some interesting bits and bobs…and that’s about all I need.
A title would be nice but I’m still undecided. So far I like ‘Blindsided‘ and ‘The Rejected‘ but neither have solidified themselves as the final title so ‘Novel 3‘ will have to do for now.
I’m not a freestyler who flies by the seat of their pants and I’m not a detailed planner, I’m what I’ve just christened, a ‘structuralist‘. I can tell where it starts, who with, where I have to get to in the middle and where the end ends. I have a few themes and ideas to guide me and that’s it.
Now I’ve got structure sorted, I plan in about 3 or 4 chapter chunks. So I’ve got currently got the first 3 chapters planned in about 4 sentences each. The rest I leave to serendipity, chance, luck, and dare I say it, skill and experience!
I love the idea gathering stage. Just a pen and notebook, you can write what you want, scribble anywhere you want, cross stuff out, draw arrows all over the page and make a general mess. Nothing is wrong, nothing is superfluous, nothing is crap, nothing is diversionary.
But working in chaos can’t last forever, eventually you want to bring together the good bits and sculpt something meaningful. All these disparate thoughts and ideas won’t stand up by themselves, they need to be weaved into a plot using the personality and situations of your characters (I’m not going full-blown literary – there will be a plot).
I love this beginning stage too. Luckily, I love editing subsequent drafts as well.
A selective memory is a vital tool for starting a new novel; experience has told me that much!