Being January 2nd and the start of a brand new year here at The Pink Heart Society the lovely Bronwyn Jameson is here to talk about new beginnings...which she says is particularly fitting because her new book VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM is the launch title in a brand new continuity from Silhouette Desire titled DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER...
How do you feel about the start of something new? I'd love to say I find beginnings -- to a new year, a new career, a new kind of book, a new project -- exciting and empowering and exhilarating. And I do…mostly. Except when the new start means letting go something old and much loved, which can be difficult and sad and at times straight-out terrifying.
I love the start of a new year because of the symbolic clean slate. It’s lovely to look back on the past year’s achievements and to consider what I learned from the mistakes. That’s much more positive than considering them failures. I like setting new goals -- hate resolutions; love goals! – because with them comes the opportunity to shed old, bad habits in favour of a stronger, healthier (mentally as much as physically) me. I also love the start of a new year for the fireworks and champagne, but that's digressing. J
Even more than starting a new year, I love starting a new writing project. I adore the process of developing an idea, of adding substance to the initial shadowy characters and conflicts. I love deciding on settings and jobs and other externals, and linking them to character and conflict. I love all the thinking and building and get tingly buzzes of excitement when the internal and external connect in (what I think is) a clever way.
You might have guessed from that statement that I’m a plotter not a pantser. Actually I’m an over-plotter. I wish I could just dive in and start writing and discover my story through the places my characters take me. That would be such beautiful bliss.
But, alas, I am not good at starting to write. When it comes to typing that first sentence to start the story, just hand me the Olympic gold in procrastination and be done with it. I can write a book of excuses for not starting in the time it takes me to get that first scene down. I actually prefer writing the synopsis -- yes, shock, horror!!!--to chapter one.
It's not that I don't know where to start. I always have the inciting incident, the point of change. I know what throws my hero and heroine together and how they'll react. I’ve GMCed them to within an inch of their lives.
My problem is coming up with The Opening Line. (Capitalised because of the significance and importance.) Some writers are brilliant with openers. Sadly, I am not one of them. Often during the plotting and thinking stage I will come up with what I think is a decent opening, but when I start writing it doesn’t work. At least not as line one.
I think this is just me and my personal need to set up that golden line...kind of like the punchline of a joke. It's all about the timing. A few sentences setting character, situation, setting, and then kapow! Hit ‘em with the punchline. Other authors do brilliantly by opening with the killer line, and one of these days I swear I am going to join them!
While thinking about starts, I recalled that old adage: Start as you aim to continue. I think that’s applicable to the start of a year or a project or a book or a day, don’t you? It covers everything from attitude to tone to commitment. I have this scene checklist. I don’t use it for every scene; I don’t consult it before starting a new scene; but that’s partly because it’s buried somewhere in my writer’s psyche. I think I subconsciously run the check, and one of the items on it is “dominant tone”. I want to start a scene – or a book – in the dominant tone with which I aim to continue.
So, what do you love about new starts and how do you like to start a new project? Do you plunge right in or do you test the water one toe at a time? Are you a plotter, do you collage, conduct character interviews…or do you need nothing more than a starting situation to launch you into chapter one?
There’s a copy of VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM, Bronwyn’s brand new book, as a giveaway to one of the commenters, to be drawn January 3.
Visit the website at http://www.diamonds-downunder.com/ for the skinny of this unique author-led series and for the chance to win some fabulous prizes including editor critiques and a diamond pendant. Jewellery and a chance to sidestep the slush pile -- what more could a writing gal want?