How I Start a Novel

Every writer has their own process when it comes to tackling a new novel. Imagine sitting in the middle of your room while a story is bubbling to the surface surrounded by an explosion of post-its. Or perhaps staring out the window or at your partner’s face while a story crawls up to your conscious mind. For me, it starts with a seed of an idea that eventually grows into a large tree.

Collecting Inspiration

The first idea can pop up out of nowhere like a killer clown or a zit as noticeable as a flare gun. The trick is not to startle the idea. Let it think you haven’t spotted it yet. In fact, ignore the crap out of it. It’s not easy when a shiny, exciting idea shows up, but that’s how it will get some more meat on its bones.

Flesh it out

This lets me get a good idea of my characters, their desires, fears, and obstacles. I may be a wing-it writer, but I do need some basic information about my plot and characters. This is where my love for stationary comes in. I usually make mindmaps or use post-its and markers to keep track of this info.

Follow the characters

So, there is some plotting involved, but it’s very basic. I’ve tried plotting an entire novel, but characters end up doing their own thing. I can’t do anything but follow them around and write it down. It doesn’t matter if I plot or not. It matters that I write my stories down and have fun doing it.

How do you start writing your novels?

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