I get it. That’s a weird thing to say. I mean, how can I think I’ve started writing a book? How can I not know? I’ve spent most of the last thirty-six years truly believing I would write a book one day. I’ve spent most of the last five years intending to do it soon. I’ve spent the last six weeks planning to do it this November for NaNoWriMo. Some of the pieces I wrote for flash fiction prompt month in January felt like they could be the beginning of a bigger project and maybe they are, but this is not it. This is a totally separate, new thing.
I’ve been reading bits here and there about how to structure novels and novellas (the book I’m accidentally writing is currently of unknown target length) and the more I’ve read, the more overwhelmed and lost I’ve felt. I need to plan. Planning is something I’m weirdly into. But I’m kind of freaked out about planning a book and knew I would need to begin with a spark of inspiration, a scene, a a character or something that would help me meet my idea before I get stuck into the serious business of creating plot.
What you’re seeing in the picture up there is the beginning of this maybe-a-book in Scrivener. So far, I’ve written a prologue and briefly met my protagonist, two supporting characters and someone who had the misfortune of being robbed by these people. My protagonist isn’t me or parts of me, she isn’t anyone I know and she isn’t anyone I’ve always wanted to be. She’s just a person who I’m starting to get to know. I don’t have a full picture of her in my head yet but I can hear her voice. I need to talk to her, find out about her past, her motivations, her desires. I need to ask her what scares her, how she takes her coffee in the morning and what goes through her head if she can’t sleep. Then I need to figure out what happens to her next.
That’s the weird thing about all this. I don’t have a story in mind yet at all. I have vague concepts. I’ve had firmer ideas about things I’ve written as poems or short stories, or never actually gotten around to writing at all, than I have about this, but somehow this feels like the start of something bigger and I don’t know why. Mid-yoga this morning I suddenly thought, “Today I’m going to start writing a book”. It came out of nowhere but it felt like certainty. It still does.
I’ll keep you posted.