I was planning to let The Crane Girl simmer in pre-writing for months yet. Character-building, world-building, plot outlining, all had plenty of work left.
But last week, on vacation, I started playing around with the novel’s first sentence in my head.
And first sentences are dangerous. They lead to first paragraphs, and by then the text in your head is long enough that you want to write it down. And once you’ve written your first paragraph, you have to write the second, and…
In the last six days, I’ve written 5,800 words. Six chapters, twenty pages, 5% of the book. And it’s fun. The words come easier than any novel I’ve written before.
I take it as a sign that the characters are stronger in this one. When you have strong characters, you don’t need as much of an outline, because once they’re in the right places they’ll do the right things on their own.
What about the world-building I still need to do? The pre-writing? What if my first draft ends up half-baked because I didn’t prepare enough?
Well, of course it’ll be half-baked. It’s a first draft. You can always do more world-building later. The beauty of writing is that it is pre-writing, if you remember to treat it that way. Chapters are expendable, and the ones you throw away enrich the ones you keep.
Gotta go. Still more writing to do before I leave for work.
Oh, and don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten your Ask Brian Anything questions. I’ll answer them all next week!
Getting too tangled up in being ready is apparently one of the biggest reasons novels are never started.
Makes sense. It does feel good to stop talking about doing it, and actually start doing it. 🙂
Editing perceived issues before the first draft is finished is also a common killer, so good to see you are overcoming that too.
“When you have strong characters, you don’t need as much of an outline, because once they’re in the right places they’ll do the right things on their own.” Yes. I have a rough idea where my current story is going (hey, I have a great final scene already prepared), but the characters may develop their own ideas. I’m been writing about a couple of the key ones since around 1970, so they’re pretty darn independent by now. 🙂