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!
Image from Steampunk Workshop.