Starting a new story

Starting a new project can be daunting. Where to begin, what should I write about, I’m not inspired in the least should I even try. These questions typically plague my head when I sit down to start writing. Even when I have a general idea of what I’m going to work on. As I have stated in another post I have a process when it comes to coming up with new content. So here I will try to outline it as best as I can for you. In hopes that you to can get started on a new writing project. 

So I first gather my need items to my writing area. My writing area is my dining room table. not that the family desk isn’t a good spot for writing, but my dinning room has the best light. The scrubbed wooden table that I’m sure has filled the dinning rooms of family’s since time immortal is comfortable and familiar. It’s wide expanse of pine is large enough that I can top it with my laptop, loose papers, notebook, pens, reference books, and all the other books I tote out when I write, and of course my mug of freshly brewed coffee or if the feeling takes me a pot of tea. Writers are creatures of habit and I firmly believe that at least the majority of us are superstitious and slightly OCD. My thinking always is, “This is how I was able to create the first time, so if I have everything the same I’ll be able to do it again.” Some people may think I’m joking about this, but I assure you I am not. Yes I write throughout the day while I’m at work and carry a notebook with me with for notes, but the real work the deep writing happens at the table with everything just so.

After I have everything spread out across the dinning room table I take out my iPhone and open my YouTube app. There I have several saved playlists, everything from Techno to Country to Gothic to Rap. I listen to anything and everything, christian music, classical music, french music, Spanish music. If it has a good beat I’m game, but there is one special play list I use for writing fantasy. My wife actually found it for me and its called Mix – Most Beautiful Music Ever by Epic Soul Factory I highly recommend it to anyone writing fantasy, just helps put you in that mood. If I am writing anything else I have a different play list for that. If I’m writing paranormal, then I’ll listen to oldies because it puts me in mind of Supernatural the TV show which is another thing I recommend. Not because it will help you write, well maybe it will, but because its just fun to watch. For whatever genre I write in I have a play list for it. Create your own play list or use mine, whatever you do  this step is just to get you in the mood.

I start siting, eyes closed taking in the music. Thinking about my day, relaxing and clearing my mind. Once I am calm I stand up and with coffee in hand I pace around my table mind focused on the genre I wish to work in. I need to point out that at this point most of my household is asleep and all other distractions are kept to a minimum. It doesn’t take long for the ideas to start coming. I pause and write down some notes in that notebook I have on the table. Not all these ideas are gold, in fact most are dog shit. There are some however that have promise. So after my hour of thinking and scribbling notes I finally have whittled it down to one idea, the most promising. Its this idea that is going to become the next ten or so pages and possibly a novel. For the next two hours I will work that idea, dissecting it, creating the world for it and characters to fill it. I might ink out a map, a lot of my ideas and world building contains maps even if its only a map of the characters home town.

This last step in the most humbling one for me. I take the ten or so pages I have written, usually around ten thousand words so depending on font it is normally ten pages. I take them and hand them over to my wife, who is for me the one who green lights a project. Like me my wife is an avid reader of many genre’s, in fact as I am writing this I cannot think of a genre she has not read. I’m sure one will come to mind later, but I digress. I bring her a cup of tea (My wife has a dislike for coffee.) and my pages. Then as I am sure most authors do, I sit eagerly and watch as she reads them. A lot of authors are needy and I am no different. I want her to like what I have written, laugh at the parts that are funny and read with baited breath when its suspenseful. As you can probably guess it doesn’t happen very often. More often than not she will put the pages down and say something to the effect of, “Well its interesting.” That is her way of telling me its no good. Don’t misunderstand my wife isn’t above saying, “Wow Brandon this was complete crap.” But she rarely does, she is more likely to choose the kinder approach. When the words don’t work, they just don’t work. It’s a sad fact of life that many an author have learned and many more will learn still. When they do work, well lets just say there are few drugs in the world that could ever come close to the feeling that one gets when he or she has created something great. It may need work, it may be a long way from being complete, but the sparkle she gets in her eyes when I write something she loves is the single most reason why I still do it. The sparkle will dull over time if the project continues. She’ll get so sick of reading the work that by the time its finished she wont even read the finished product. Not until its printed and bound and if you have ever worked on a novel you know that very few ever reach that goal. I have published one full novel, but I have several hidden away on my hard drive.

It’s not a perfect process, but its my process. There are many who will tell you to “Write with the door closed.” to quote Stephen King. I am not one of those authors. Yes there is a time and place for sitting down and getting your words on the page as fast as you can, but when I start a new project I need all the encouraging I can get. Maybe this is just me, but I think many of you might feel the same. Thank you for reading and if you haven’t already be sure to check out Black Thorn on Amazon and in select bookstores. For now farewell.

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