Saturday, July 4, 2009
Falling in Love and the WIP
Starting a new project is like falling in love. It's exciting, exasperating, daunting and then comes the knee knocking terror that maybe I'm not going to get it right. That's what beginnings are for. Very rarely does everything line up on the page exactly the way I've envisioned it but these days, I understand that it's the process. I don't panic. Well, not nearly as badly as I used to.
First drafts for me are about getting my plot down on paper and seeing if my characters are behaving true to form or if they need a better goal, more believable motivation or stronger conflict. Or discovering a secondary character who leaps off the page and steals the show. Not that I'm into whips and chains, but I've had to beat a few of them back and promise them a book to themselves if they just behave!
I used to work in a linear fashion, the first chapter came first, and if I couldn't get past that, I couldn't go on to the second chapter. Now, the process has changed and I will spend a week, setting up scenes that I know will be needed. That includes my ending. Since I use a working synopsis now, I know how it will end and if I write that, I know how to line up the rest of the book. It actually sounds more complicated than it is.
And just think, if you're still in love after the first draft, (even if it didn't line up the way you thought it would) and you're willing to stick it out, the reward will be a book you haven't just fallen in love with, but one you will love for a long time.
How do you start a new writing project? What process works best for you? I'd be interested in knowing!
Have a Happy Fourth of July!