How do you begin a project?
For me, nothing beats pen and paper for those initial ideas. There’s just something magical about a smooth flowing pen on pristine white paper.
One question I get asked consistently is where do my ideas come from. The answer? Literally everywhere. In songs, conversations, the news, TV shows, movies, books, etc. Once I get the spark of an idea, I usually spend a couple of weeks thinking and obsessing about the characters and the story. Who are they? What do they want? What’s in their way?
Sometimes, I get it right. Sometimes, I’m wrong.
Back in November, I started a novel during NaNoWriMo. It was inspired by a news story, and I had this fear that it was too big for my current skills as a writer. But I wrote it anyway. Well, 60k words of it.
Then, I realized it was all wrong. I added a layer that didn’t need to be there. It became a story I didn’t want to tell.
So, I tried to start over (which is painful after 2/3 of it was written). I waited. I reworked the story. I waited. I started hating it. I took a two-month break from it.
Then, while trying to revise another manuscript, I realized what I wanted to do. So, I took the outline and plot and I deconstructed it. Now, I’m rewriting it and actually excited about it.
It took sitting down with a pen in hand and answering those fundamental character questions—who are they, what do they want, what’s in their way, what do they stand to lose if they don’t get what they want?
Cheers to new beginnings for old characters.