Whether I start working on the second book in my trilogy or dive into the new book that just exploded in my head, I am ready to get back to writing. Not writing is eating me from the inside out.
For me, the opening to a new book is a foundation of voice. If it’s going to be a humorous book, I have to find that right tone that makes me giggle from the very first page and take off, even if that means muttering, stewing, cursing and pulling my hair out for days trying to find it. Once I’m into the process I can write just to get words down and come back later and fix them, but not the opening to the book.
I have to really nail it.
Even if I come back later and change it anyway.
Also, I am a mood writer. I have to get into that moment, feel it, taste it, experience it. When I’m lucky (which is quite often) the opening flows out of me because I’m in that moment, even before I know what the story is going to be. That is how I find the story–the character and situation coming to life and flowing out of me in an ecstatic burst of muse-inspired magic, and I finally get to the end of it, sit back and look and say, “Wow. This is what I’m going to write next.”
But that doesn’t always happen, and right now I have two different books that are both at similar stages–I know characters, situations, at least some world-specifics and am bubbling with urgent need to create.
But they aren’t talking to me yet.
My attempts to begin have been forced and have not turned out the way I want them (even though others have said, this is fine, keep going). I haven’t tapped into the magic yet, and so I’m in that teeth-gnashing stage.
I’ve taken to creating soundtracks for each screenplay or novel, something I can play in the background and if I’m diligent enough, create a Pavlovian response so that simply plugging in the iPod gets me at least 2/3rds of the way into my world.
I don’t have soundtracks for these books yet.
We all have different processes. My process has changed through the years and still changes from one project to the next. So. Tell me your process for writing the first pages. Throw down words, come back later and fix? Light a candle and meditate? Toss back some single malt and growl a lot?
What’s your process? Maybe you’ll inspire me. Or at least give me something interesting to distract me.
Oh, and any suggestions for Victorian London steampunk soundtrack music would be appreciated!
9 responses to “Let's start at the very beginning.”
Soundtracks: Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Pandorum, Alien 3 soundtrack is better than the movie…
Soundtracks. I didn’t even think of those. I’ll go start sampling on iTunes. Thanks!
Just got Zimmer’s Holmes soundtrack. How did I not think of this myself? Will be sampling others to add to collection. Thanks again!
I write physician bluegrass fiction. For me it was to string a mandolin around my neck, pretend I wasn’t a doctor, and write as fast as I could.
(My book is “The Mandolin Case.”)
Physician bluegrass fiction must be a cutting edge genre; it’s new to me! Love it! And I love your cover image and title, very clever.
Did you really write with a mandolin around your neck? Long arms?
Thanks for stopping by!
Oh well, the strap was anyway, and the mandolin was attached to it. Yeah as far as I know I’m the only writer in the world in my genre. -Dr. B
Music is a powerful muse for me. I find a soundtrack for the story first and have the story idea bake in my head while listening to the music. Usually scenes form and if I’m lucky, I imagine enough key scenes in order to start a good outline. I got in trouble with my current book by going on with the first draft without a good, solid outline and I floundered like a seal. After that I bucked down and wrote a proper outline that makes sense and now
I should get through the first draft.
I’m thinking of the outline, probably Fool Triumphant for this one, but not sure. Need music. I know the opening scene and just would like to have it fizz and bubble with all the effervescence and crackling conflict I know it should have. But maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself. (All I know is that I did write the very last bit of the book and it did crackle and fizz and bubble and made me know I was on the right track.)
I forgot to say, about the music/scenes form?