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How I Write…Beginning a New Project

Posted by on 2010/07/07

Beginning is always tough, but it’s the most important part. When I begin a new project I’m starting with a little kernel of an idea. It might be just one scene or action or word that has captured my imagination. It is my job to decide how I’m going to get to that point–and what is going to happen after it.

I usually start by jotting down notes and thoughts in a notebook. Whole scenes will come to me and I have to ask myself questions to fill in the before and after and find the connecting points between scenes. I find it easier to free write by hand instead of on the computer. There’s something about that blinking cursor that makes me a little anxious, but a notebook already has lines on it and holes in it. It isn’t perfect anymore, so I can’t mess it up with my scribbles and scratch outs.

Once I have a good idea of where I’m going with the story then I’ll move to the computer. I will just let the story start to come out…I’ll “free” type. Sometimes my characters change their mind about the path they are taking or the attitude they had about something. If you get stuck you can always refer back to your notebook. For instance in my new WIP, Tangled, Leif’s mom was at first glad that  he was learning a bit of magick, but as of last night, she detests magick and he has to hide it from her. We’ll see how it works out. She might change her mind again.

Well, I don’t know if that will help anyone get past the “how do I start this” anxiety– but, that’s how I do it. Jump in! See where your story takes you. And if it’s a different place than what you firs thought…well, sometimes that happens.  = )

Below is the current list of contributing writers to the HOW I WRITE blog series.

Click a link and find out HOW I WRITE! (in alphabetical order, check us all out!)

Kendall Ashby Corbit- http://www.twokendals.blogspot.com/ Rated R

Kristine Asselin – http://krisasselin.blogspot.com/ Rated PG

Tatiana Caldwell – http://tatianacaldwell.com/blog Rated R

Isabelle Flynn – http://www.isabelleflynn.com/ Rated PG

Ansha Kotyk – http://www.anshakotyk.com/blog Rated PG

Laura Pauling – http://laurapauling.com/ Rated PG

Alexia Reed – http://alexiareed.blogspot.com Rated R

Gail Roarke – http://gailroarke.blogspot.com Rated NC-17

P.M. Rousseau – http://pmrousseau.com/ Rated R

9 Responses to How I Write…Beginning a New Project

  1. Laura Pauling

    Your process is very similar to mine! I use a notebook and free write and then move to the computer and free write, trying to connect the scenes in my head! I like you new idea about Leif’s mom!

  2. Michael

    Very good. Beginning has never been my problem. For me it’s ending. Most of my completed work is flash-fiction because I can typically finish a story in one sitting. I’m terribly easily distracted and if a story’s production takes too long then I’m off to other things. I really do hate that!

    When I do write I use the typewriter. On occasion I will sketch notes in a journal or sketch pad to remember a story if I think it is good enough to devote time to. But writing with my hands is so hard because my story is unfolding in my head to quickly to keep up. I lose a lot of stories because they out run me.

    • jennifercarson

      Michael– have you ever thought of getting a digital voice recorder? I know what you mean about your mind working faster than you can write. But I also find, if the idea is good, it will come back when you need it = 0)

  3. Tatiana Caldwell

    Nice post. Sometimes I’ll grab pen and a notebook too when I’m not in the mood for a computer screen in my face. But even then, I tend to type my notes into MS One Note so I have a digital copy and infinite room to expand.

  4. isabelleflynn

    Thank you for sharing your process. If I’m just jamming with notes, I’ll go with a pad and pen. I like scribbling all over the page regardless of lines or margins but when it comes to actual scenes, etc I actually like the cursor eagerly awaiting my words.

    • jennifercarson

      Isabelle–
      I agree! Once I have my notes, I like the cursor too–just not when I’m trying to come up with the idea. = )

  5. Ansha Kotyk

    I’m super late, thanks to my crazy week. But you and I do think alike on the jump in and just do it. We are the only ones that hold ourselves back. Now if only I could listen to that advice these days!

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