Sometimes the best place to start is not the beginning.
I’ve been asked some questions concerning how I go about developing ideas, on how I turn them into novels.
And since I’m about to start something new in my notepads, I thought it would be fun to take a step back. To not talk about writing fast as such, but instead concentrate on how you go from having an idea that looks quite promising to turning it into a whole novel?
Now, I think I’ve said before, that I don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. In fact, my problem is that frequently I have too many ideas. So that if I’m in a phase where I’m easily distracted – like my period in the writing wilderness where I couldn’t finish anything – then too many ideas means that I lose focus, as this other thing I could be writing right now looks sooooo much better.
But let’s say that you’ve settled on one brilliant idea. That you have a story you want to tell and you have a good idea of your characters and where you want to take them. Maybe you don’t have all your dramatic beats yet, but that’s fine – that’s what re-writing and editing is for.
Then, with the story spinning around your head, you’re going to want to get it down. But how do you start? Where should your book even begin?
I can see the paralysis of the blank page right there. Yes, you logically know that you can come back and change whatever it is you write, but equally a good start will give you momentum for the rest of the book. A novel is a long slog to write, and you’ll need to feel good about it. So, you’ll want a good start to allow you to charge on. You don’t want to begin with something that leaves you deflated and struggling.
And with that in mind, I say, why start at the beginning?
You have a big story, you have your characters. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all detail, just pick one moment of your story that you’re excited to get to and start work on that. Get the flow of it by writing a bit that you are excited by. Get that down as well as you can and then you can start building the story from there.
But then, even here, maybe I’m being too prescriptive…
(continued next week)
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free! A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here! here.