Beyond Motivation; Start Writing
I have my motivation. I am ready to write my story.
My fingers are poised on the keyboard. My head is full of ideas. I have a blank page in front of me. A blank page. I stare at it. I type a few lines. Hit the back-space bar. Type again. Hit the back-space bar. I stare at the blank page.
I had characters for my story and because I grew up during the Cold War, there was going to be a Russian theme with spies in it. I still remember begging my dad to build us a bomb shelter during the nuclear scare with Russia, but he refused. I wonder now if those bomb shelters have been converted to more useful things like wine cellars.
Now, I have a story line (still in my head) with Russians and spies. In addition, I wanted to have a generation gap where a young girl raised by her grandmother does not know her own past or her grandmother's sordid past. The young girl would believe she has her life planned like most of us at some point and then like most of us shit happens. Remember the Army Ranger veteran with the prosthetic leg? He and the young girl would meet, but it is not love at first sight. Just a physical attraction with a lot of chaos and mysteries to keep the pace of the story up. I stare at the blank page. It is all still in my head.
As a first-time writer, it was helpful to have a husband who has written five great thrillers. The first one he meticulously outlined. I knew I could never do this. He is very organized. I am very ADD. His second book, he just sat down and wrote it. Then he revised it and so on till he got the story line right. The third book he did a simple outline. An outline, more like a chalk sketch you do around a dead body and then filled in the empty space.
His advice was invaluable and I know I could not have accomplished my goal to take all these ideas and create a novel without him. Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
Capture your story line on paper. Generate a simple outline.
Keep a timeline. This is very important. I kept mixing up my time of day. It is morning and then when in another character's head it is night time. Picky. Weather. It is Fall and chilly, then in the afternoon they are sweating. Just little things.
Develop your main characters. Physically and with a distinct personality. Then be sure you keep the character's bio for reference. You'd be surprised how you can't remember if the scar on a character's face is on the left side or right.
Get to know your target audience? History lovers, adrenaline junkies, young readers, etc.
Research and try to get experts on your subject. Make sure you get your facts right. Yep, that's right, in fiction facts play a big part.
Read. Read. Read. Not just your favorite authors, but different authors. Find authors that don't have New York Times Best Seller on their book cover. There are plenty of great writers out there. They will inspire and help you craft your own style.
The biggest key is to quit staring at the blank page and write. That is the only way to stop procrastinating and begin to craft your novel. Just write!