Monday, April 13, 2015

Starting a Book, Part Three: Chapter One, Page One

When I’m faced with Chapter One, Page One, I have one main objective in mind besides telling an entertaining romance:  get my characters talking.  I “hear” my characters more than I see them, and I really get to know them by letting them talk.  Many times things come out of their mouths that surprise and delight me and lead me to a richer exploration of their characters. 
     How is that possible?  I’m making them up, right?
     The closest comparison I can make is to improv.  I just…let myself go.  My imagination takes over without any internal editor, without any censor to say “Is that good?  Is it bad?  Is it right or wrong?”  At that point, I just want to hear what they have to say.  Sounds weird, I know, but that’s the alchemy of writing for you.
     And it’s not like every line’s a keeper.  That’s when the delete key comes in handy. 
     So there you have it.  The things I think about when I'm starting a book.  You may be wondering "Is that all?"
     But I do at least three complete drafts of the story and usually more (last one was ten), and many more of individual scenes.  That's when I add depth and layers to my plot and characters.  
     But first, I get my people talking. 

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