In the week leading up to Nov. 1 (the first day of National Novel Writing Month), I was full of potential, excitement and opportunity about the novel I was going to come up with.
And when that morning came (it was a sleepy-headed battle against our third Halloween party of the night before), I still felt like the words weren’t ready to come.
Lucky for me, I had work to do. I finished edits on a client’s memoir project and submitted a First Draft(!) of a First Chapter of a book to the client for review. It was invigorating.
Next, I checked on my one NaNoWriMo writing buddy to see what she’d accomplished while I was sleeping. She’d pounded out enough words to get me inspired to start and not so many that I felt like I was already in the hole. (I’d browsed the NaNo forums earlier in the morning to see that some people were up around 5,000 already. What!?)
I texted her: “Congrats on your first words! Mine are still waiting.”
She told me she took advantage of the “Word Sprints” that NaNo was doing on Twitter @NaNoWordSprints. They provide an optional prompt, a starting point (“:10 past the hour”) and a length of time (“you have 15 minutes this sprint”) and you write away.
Properly stoked with the knowledge I could write for just a few minutes to get things started and knowing I’d have to get dressed and go to work eventually, I set the timer on my phone for 17 minutes.
And I did it. I got those words onto the page.
I read somewhere that a story generally begins in a state of normalcy before the action starts to unfold. With this being a chick lit novel (the rom com of books), it wasn’t as if the action was going to dramatically involve a wizard or anything. I gave myself the most basic of outlines for the first scene:
This opening scene turned out to be mostly dialogue, which made things move quickly. It’s also loosely based on an experience I had at a previous job, which meant I could fill in the details from memory, not just creative juices and I think that’s what I need to do early on, as I get my novel chops worked out.