Friday, January 22, 2010

Daring to plunge

Jan 10 174

I recently had an email from a fellow (published) writer who is beginning a new book. She asked me “When you start a new book, do you just plunge in?”

I never just plunge in.

I have pages of notes on my characters, an overall plot, sub plots and a sketchy outline of the whole trajectory of the book, from a beginning which I have decided. I know what I want to achieve in the first three chapters, but not exactly how I am going to do it.

I turn it all over in my mind and hold off from the actually writing. I stand on the brink of Chapter 1, partly because it seems so scary (can I do it again?) and then eventually I think – to hell with it, I’ll write something – anything – and see if it’s any good. (i.e. how much of it I can keep.)

It’s only when I get a third of the way through a book that I map out each chapter in terms of the scenes that will go in it. When I get to that stage I LOVE it, because I know what is going to happen and I am into the story and it carries me along. At the very beginning, it’s a struggle every time I sit down to write.

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