I’m procrastinating. I’ve come to a big turning point in my novel in progress and I’m doing everything else I can think of today except write–which accounts for the sudden urge to post something in this diary.
Everything about writing a novel is demanding, but some things are harder than others. Hands down, the most difficult part for me is the opening chapter, because I don’t know the characters all that well, and I don’t yet feel as if I live in their house, in their town, in their era.
As a novel progresses there are other places that present a similar challenge. I’ve written and revised into marketable quality more than 350 pages of the book, but I have now reached the point where my main character has just arrived in a new city with an entirely new set of characters, and furthermore, by the end of this chapter, I’ll be jumping forward in time 5 years and she’ll go to another new town with another new set of characters. It’s almost like starting from scratch except that I know my protagonist now, and all I have to do is supply the people and the situation, and she’ll take over and tell my fingers what to type.
All I have to do? Sounds like a lot to me. Even minor characters need names, personalities and motivations, and places need to be thoroughly imagined–although fortunately, I learned recently, readers don’t necessarily want detailed physical descriptions of every last person and place because they prefer to imagine for themselves.
Luckily for me, before I left off writing, I made notes for this new section, including the main elements of the plot and the characters I would need to carry the plan out. I took a look at these notes–less than a page total–and started thinking, “this is going to be good!” Still, I’ve got the blank page heebie jeebies today, and I’m just going to let them stick around for a while until they get bored and check out of my brain.
it won’t take long for that. It’s an exciting world I’m writing about, with a main character I care deeply for. I can’t wait to see what’s really going to happen. It’s usually far different and better than the notes, and the only way to find out is to start writing.