Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Fresh Start

Well, the race is on.  Again.  It's time for me to start writing a novel.  One that I've told myself I'll try and get out in the same amount of time it took me to write a novel during November.  In case you're wondering, that means that I need to write this novel in only ten days.  I'm not entirely sure I can actually do it, but that's got more to do with the fact that I'm not putting my life on hold for this book like I do in November.  I have plans with friends, I haven't stopped going to critique group, and I don't know if I'll even have time to write ten thousand words a day.

But now that I've decided to do it, and even promised the character that it would be done by April, I can't back out.  First of all, if I did, I would end up with a character yelling at me and not giving me any rest until  I actually wrote it.  Second, I would be disappointed because I wouldn't have that novel I need to submit to my critique group so I can get my current novel ready for beta readers then for submission.

The worst part is that I have everything planned out.  And when I say everything, trust me, I mean EVERYTHING.  I have character bibles for each of my main to more important background characters.  Each bible consists not only of what they look like, but also their personality, their goals in the book, the motivations, what makes obtaining their goals difficult, any growth they have in the book, what their role is and any back history I've come up with for them.  (In case you're wondering, these characters have some of the strongest and most details character histories that I've ever written...)  I have pages and pages of brainstorming, as well as two pages devoted entirely to a cast list, naming every character that could possibly come up in the book.  And, finally, I have an entire plot written out (not too detailed, because I'd spend the entire time writing frustrated.  My characters don't really like to stick to the plan...) in my scrivener file.

The writing should be the easy part with all of that planning out of the way.  Especially since I don't have to make any actual decisions while I'm writing (which is good as I'm kind of indecisive...) I should be able to just sit down and write it, after all, my characters are even talking to me, and I can see some of the scenes in my head!  Scenes that I desperately want to write.

So what's holding me back?

Chapter one.  It's as simple as that.  When I wrote the plot I made it very vague, and I hadn't really decided on anything, up to and including what the guy did to deserve being killed.  I didn't even know what he looked like or did for a living.  I didn't have a single clue as to how my main character was going to approach him, never mind kill him.  Both of these things were very important as my character is actually an assassin and was being hired to kill the guy.

When I sat down to write, I found myself staring at a blank page certain I had a fantastic idea, but having no idea how I was going to start it.  Where this first chapter, that introduces the character, but not really the story, was going to go.  My mind blanked.  So I got desperate and wrote the first thing that came to mind.  In first person as I had planned.

Turns out the first thing I think of isn't always the right thing.  Or even good.  After 1200 words I was getting increasingly frustrated and realizing that if I continued to write like that the book that I've been looking forward to writing for so long was going to go the way of all the other books I've written so far: directly into that dusty old folder in the back of my computer.  That's the last thing I want.

So I did the only thing I could do.  The thing that nearly made me cry, as those were the only words written on the novel and I was supposed to write 10,000 words.  I deleted them and started over.

While it was a hard thing to do, it was the best thing.  I changed to third person, which I find much easier to write in. (Originally I thought I should do first because so many other books like the one I'm writing are written in first.  When I first started writing I actually wrote in first and never thought I'd be able to change to third.  I was wrong...)

Now I'm only 450 words into the first chapter (a far cry from my 10k goal...) but they're far better than the original 1200 I had been working with.  I'm looking forward to writing the scene, and I'm once again hopeful that I can write something other than crap.

Sometimes you really do have to give yourself a fresh start, whether you're at 1200 or 65,000 words.  Just make sure that you need to give up on it before you do.  You'll kick yourself if you start all over again just to realize that what you had already written had potential.

Well, time for me to get back to writing...hopefully I can hit that elusive 10k soon.  I've gotta get this book written!

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