Wednesday, July 7, 2010
How I Write: Starting a new WIP
Welcome to the fourth installment of the How I Write series, brainchild of Ansha Kotyk. A group of writers are writing about how we write – scheduled for Wednesdays through August. Please check back weekly. And click here for the list of all the writers participating and links to their blogs.
Today's topic: Starting a new WIP
Now this is a timely topic. I just happen to be starting a new WIP and I was wondering this exact thing. The last time I started a novel, I had written a short story inspired by an experience I had as a teenager. People who read the story wanted to know what happened next to my characters, and so I started writing more. Much of it was inspired by people and places from my childhood. It was completely organic and from my heart. I didn't actually start it consciously.
So I have no idea what to do with this new one. I've got a first chapter drafted that sort of came from a daydream. And my friend Ansha insists that if I let things stew, more of the story will come from my subconscious. ::waves to Ansha:: So I'm stewing. And researching a bit (see last week's post). And listening to music. And reading. And talking to my characters.
Wait. What? Talking to my characters?
Yes. If you listen, they'll talk to you.
Sometimes, I pull out scrap paper in the car while I'm waiting to pick up my daughter, and just jot notes. Random thoughts about the characters. It's amazing what comes out sometimes.
I use a novel writing software which helps organize--I don't use all it's features, but it's helpful. And of course when I get into a funk, do a little snowflaking method. I know I'll use character spreadsheets, outlines, review my craft books, and any number of other tools before I'm done.
UPDATE since I wrote this entry: I've been assigned two new freelance projects. I'll be writing about life in Colonial America specifically focusing on government for one and weapons/battles for the other. This type of research (see last week's entry) begins with a google search, searches on Worldcat.org and my local library's online resources. I'll begin with an outline based on the publisher's guidelines and then write the manuscript based on research and the approved outline. Two or more primary resources are required--I'll probably take my research on the road and hit the museums in Lexington, MA and Plymouth, MA.
New fiction WIP will get to stew a bit longer as I tackle these new projects.
How do you start a new WIP?