Now that Short Stories and How to Write Them has been pushed out into the big wide world of Amazon to sink or swim, it’s time for me to get going with another writing project. Over the last few weeks I’ve been jotting notes, compiling character sheets and adding to a novel-planning spreadsheet, but now I need to start actually writing.
Starting writing a novel requires the ability to overcome an enormous amount of inertia. Like getting a massive snowball rolling – you need a huge push. Or like getting off the sofa and going for a run – the hardest part is hauling yourself up and lacing up your running shoes. Once that’s done and you’re out the door, it all becomes a lot easier.
A novel needs an opening sentence. And while it’s true that whatever you write in a first draft can and probably will be changed as the novel takes shape, I’ve discovered I need to find a reasonably good first sentence, in the right voice and tone, to get me going. Otherwise I’ll stare at a blank page for hours (actually that’s not true. I’ll faff on facebook for hours, hoping that opening will come to me.)
I’ve made a start tonight. I’m not sure I have found the right first sentence though. There’s every chance I’ll bin this opening and start again tomorrow evening. But for now it’ll do, and it’s got me into the first scene. I’m up and running.
Sally Jenkins said:
Character sheet, novel-planning spreadsheet – that all sounds terribly organised, Kath. I think I ought to take a leaf out of your book!
Hmm, yes, it’s impressive. Can I ask more about the ‘novel planning spreadsheet’? Is that something you’ve bought or sourced from the internet or is it just your own? thanks!
Just my own, Helen. A simple spreadsheet with chapter numbers in one column, the approx date in the next, and some notes about what happens in the main plot in the next. As I write it I’ll add chapter word counts, and notes about sub-plots etc.
Wendy Clarke said:
I don’t know about novels but I find I have to have a good first line before can begin to write a short story, Kath.