Settling in with a new WIP

I spent part of October plotting and outlining a new WIP. It was an idea I came up with over the summer, and I let myself take a full month to think about it and the characters. From time to time, I jotted down some notes. But, October is when I sat down with my ideas and notes and worked with an outline. It took some time, mainly because I had never outlined a book so thoroughly, but mostly because I found not one kind of outline worked for me.

With Nano around the corner, I decided I just might try my very first Nano. In previous years, I either already had a book finished and was editing, querying, or was just finishing up.

Then, life struck. Hard. It came in the form of work. I was offered full time employment by two companies. One contract, one permanent and full time. Believe me, both beat working as a freelancer in this economy. I settled on the permanent position, although it was less money. To add to the craziness, my mother-in-law was still living with us part time and although she had planned on going home by the end of October, was now staying for a few more weeks. Oh, and to top it off, one of my dogs needed some minor surgery (she’s fine now, thank goodness).

Bye-bye, Nano!

All this said, I was having difficulty settling into my new story. I must have written the first chapter five times, then deleting it. It just didn’t stand out. I couldn’t understand how all this could happen when I thought I knew the story so well. But, it wasn’t about the story. It was about setting. It was about two characters and nothing I could gleam from an outline. At last, a first sentence came to me that really felt right. And the rest of the chapter followed. So, I may not be part of Nano as I’d hoped, but I do hope to have decent start on the new manuscript.

How about you? Nano or no Nano? How hard are those first few lines for you? How hard is the first chapter?

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Categories: On Writing

3 replies

  1. I’m doing NaNo this month and it’s a tough road to travel. I’ve only been seriously this past year and I took on NaNo so I could push myself ahead with this novel. I did the outline (something I haven’t done before), and wish now I’d done more character attributes to give my characters a voice and a personality.
    First lines to me are the easy part. I can write a million first lines, but then I need to know where I’m going with it. If I don’t have an idea in my mind before I start, that first line means nothing.
    Sorry you weren’t able to do everything you wanted to Michelle, but it sounds like you’ve got a good start on a new story. I believe there’s a reason why these things happen and maybe you were meant to do it this way. Good luck with your new story. :)

  2. Thanks, Pat! I love stories that make an entrance. It’s important to the story that this one ‘character’ make an eerie, strong first impression for the story to work at all. Hard to explain without giving it away. Ugh! It’ll be a challenge, but it’ll also be fun.
    Good luck with Nano!

  3. I just finished writing about how life hit me this month. There is a crazy part of me that believes I’ll be hit by inspiration and I’ll write a novel in a weekend so I’m not saying bye to NaNo…but the realistic me knows it’s pretty much a wash.

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