Fans, friends, and anyone else can use the following address to send me email:

Whether it's a comment you don't wish to post in front of everyone or a request for information, I will monitor this address and try to follow up to those indicating they wish a reply. (Please, no spam. I just want to make it easy to communicate.)

IMPORTANT - email addresses are ONLY used to respond to messages, and are NOT sold or used for any other purpose.

Monday, November 12, 2012

So It Begins

After a few days of thrashing around, I have begun my seventh novel. That is, I started rewriting "Where Power Lies" (perhaps not the final title as there is already a book out by that name). While the book has been rewritten several times in the past, a few examinations of the version put on the shelf some years ago made me decide to just start from scratch. Not that what I had was all that bad. I may go back and copy and paste some parts into the new manuscript. One thing I did have to do, however, was apply one of the major lessons I've learned about writing for publication: begin where the story starts. That might seem very elementary, but even after several rewrites, the old ms. did not do that. The story starts when my character, Deanna, finds a body in the office of her boss, a senator. Instead of opening with a scene with Dee and some friends having drinks in a bar across the street from the murder scene and finding the body on page ten, I start with her looking at the body.

Figuring out how to start a novel has always been a tough job for  me. Not just where to start, but what that first sentence should be. In search for the perfect opening, I can find myself putting off committing words to bits and bytes for days even though the story is begging me to tell it. Such was the case with this new novel, e.g., the thrashing around mentioned above. But now it is started and a touch of relief settles in. Perhaps this is the literary equivalent of stage fright. Once a performer gets onto the stage and sings or plays that first note or speaks that first line, suddenly it's okay, they've begun, they can do it. That's how it is opening a story. In no time at all, I've written three pages.

I'm always somewhat perplexed by writers who say they must force themselves to write one page a day. When I get going, I can do ten, twenty, or even more in a single sitting. It often becomes hard to stop even in the face of other obligations. Even when I'm not actively at the keyboard, I'll keep thinking about the next scene or some mechanics of the plot. Of course, it's a bit different in a story that already has a basic structure and a fully developed plot, but I feel the excitement again of starting a new book, and the creative juices are flowing which ensures I haven't lost the touch.

No comments:

Post a Comment