Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twin Talk Tuesday

Welcome, welcome to another triple T. Coming to you this week in solid black and white, for the viewing pleasure of our audience on Google Reader. (Ooo, ahhh)

Today, we're going to give you a piece of an actual conversation that took place between Diana and I. (Which we then shamelessly replicated for blogging purposes. We're busy girls. We use whatever material we can.)

After talking politics for about an hour (and MAN, don't you wish I'd post that?,) the topic turned to writing.

Renee: So, how are things coming with your novel?

Diana: Slowly. I am in the phase now where I daydream about the scenes I want to write, but am stuck because I need to set up the story.

Renee: Yeah, that's how I was when I was writing my first story. You remember . . .the one about twin princesses. (*deep shame*)

Diana: No shame, Ren! It was a good idea!

Renee: No . . . no, it wasn't.

Seriously though, I spent a solid year, probably closer to 15 months, writing out a detailed outline, and describing scenes I wanted to write. Trouble was, I wasn't excited about the beginning. So after starting it about five different times, and losing interest each time, I just gave up.

Diana: The beginning is so hard. How do you set up the story and tell the reader what they need to know without it being SO boring??

Renee: Honestly, that's my biggest struggle. With every book I've written, I've had to go back and rewrite the beginning. I think I had at least five different opening chapters with Searcher.

Sometimes I think that if you are going to have to rewrite the opening anyway, you might as well just skip to the good stuff, the stuff you are excited to write.

Diana: Like the passionate love scene where Roberto is wearing only bearskin loin cloth?

Renee: Oh, so you're working on your memoir now? ;)

Diana: Ha. Perhaps one day. When I feel the public is ready.

Renee: Wise.

Diana: Seriously though, it's hard, because I want to write, but I keep getting bogged down.

Renee: Every story has that moment where things really kick in. The hook, I guess. It's that point where the reader goes, "Ooo!" I don't think it necessarily has to be the opening chapter, but it needs to happen soon, for both the reader and the writer.

Diana: Exactly. I love my idea, but have not been able to gather the swirling images in my mind and make they come together into a story.

Renee: I'd say just write the scene that you are burning to write. You can add/perfect the exposition later.

Diana: You're right. I bet that as I write the scene things will come together.

Renee: I think they will. Or maybe you'll find you don't need those expository scenes at all. I remember reading somewhere that most new authors start their book in the wrong place. And if you think about it, the beginning is what will hook that agent. That publisher. Those impatient teen readers.

It's sooo important.

No pressure, though ;)

Diana: Piece of cake.

Seriously though, good advice, as always.
Ok, my checklist for today:
1. Write that scene I have acted out while doing the dishes
2. Throw out my current beginning
3. Eat an obscene amount of M&Ms :)

Renee: Perfect!! I'll expect an email later today. (*stern glance*)

So what do you think, illustrious reader? How do you get yourself kick-started into a book?


Candice said...

I had a really hard time figuring out the beginning of my first book. My second and third book, however, were really easy for some reason. I haven't changed the beginning at all on either one. My struggle is with the endings (a somewhat crucial part of the book). Alas, writing is hard work. But I would totally buy that memoir. ;)

Jessie Oliveros said...

I usually start at the beginning, but expect the beginning to change a lot. But sometimes it really slows me down, esp when I'm first drafting.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I thought I was going to be the first comment, but Candice won.

Miriam Forster said...

I use deadlines and incredibly messy drafts to get myself through the initial first stage.

But I always start in the wrong place, usually too soon and without enough build-up. My beginnings usually change in revisions.

storyqueen said...

When I don't know what to do, I just kind of start writing scenes. Sometimes one of those scenes end up being the beginning, sometimes not.

(Of course, this is so easy for me to say. Am I doing it right now? Um, no.)

Good luck!


Ruth said...

Beginnings are way hard! But it's the only place I can start. Beginning to end. I like things in order so I can't write scenes at random. My brain might explode or something.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I just did this with a WIP of mine. I wrote so good until about 20000 words. Now I'm stuck. I know what I want to happen, but I don't know how to get there. Grrr... I've also changed the beginning three or four times already. I'm working on something else until I can figure out what the heck I'm doing with it.

Candice said...

That's right Jessie. I won. Don't forget it. ;)

Renee Collins said...

Candice-See, with my first book, I didn't know enough of what I was supposed to be doing for it to be hard, if that makes sense. Once I realized what an opening needed, it became much harder.

Jessie-I've always started at the beginning too. One day I want to try it non-linearly.

Miriam-That's really the key with the first draft: give yourself the clearance to write a mess.

Shelly-That actually seems really freeing and interesting. I seriously want to try it.

Ruth-Yeah, that's how I've been. I try to be as organized as possible, so it would throw me off a lot to start in the middle or something. (I think. We'll see)

Chantele-Ugh, that's happened to me. So frustrating! Hope you work it out. :)

Bianchii-Hi! Welcome :)

Bombshell Char said...

I've actually written first chapters for about a dozen different novels. I love first chapters, they're the easiest for me. It's when I'm 50 to 100 pages into a novel, mostly consisting of scattered scenes without a lot of continuity that I get sick of it all and put it on the back burner to work on something fresh and exciting.