And into the pool of madness, hysteria, and writing we jump. I’ve been so busy with life I haven’t been writing any books recently, so to get back into it feels exciting but also terrifying. Unlike in November, this NaNoWriMo I am trying to take my time writing this book, both because it’s historical and because it’s a complex, philosophical drama. It is a book unlike anything I’ve ever written before.
For those curious about its premise, the book follows a married couple who travels to Shanghai, China in 1936, less than a year before Japan invades China. There are five POV characters (the British husband and wife, a leader of the underground mafia in Shanghai, an ex-prostitute turned club singer, and a spoiler son of a wealthy businessman). I haven’t worked out all the details, but I thought, unlike last time I did these daily blogs, I want to write slightly longer posts and share my process as we go along.
Today, I wanted to share a quick list that I follow every time I start a new book. These are the five questions I think are imperative information an author needs to know before writing the first page.
Checklist when I start a new book:
- What is the setting? (fantasy, 1820s England, modern America, etc.?)
- Who are your POV characters? (one perspective or multiple)
- What is the POV (first person, third person?)
- Where do you want the story to begin? (a.k.a., the inciting incident)
- Where do you want the story to end? (so you have a goal to work towards)
These are not questions that are set in stone, and maybe as you’re writing you may change where you want to story to go or in future rewrites you may change perspective. However, in the beginning you should be able to get a clear view of what kind of book you are writing by these five questions.
So, Sundays are usually busy days for me (as I have church and writing club). However, I did manage to get a good headway into writing. Here’s the summery of my day.
Words written: 3,028/50,000
Goal words needed: 1,613/50,000
Difference: 1,415 words ahead of schedule (it won’t last, I’m sure)
Current chapter: Chapter 1.
Time spent writing: aprox. 2 hours total
Current weather: It poured all morning until after lunch, when it decided to get humid and the sun peaked its head out from the clouds.
Tips: I read somewhere that you should never start a book with the weather…well, I decided to do just that! Don’t worry about cliqued beginnings in the first draft; worry about that later in rewrites.
Extra notes: Technically both chapter one and two I’ve written already, but I started them over from scratch because I was not happy with them.