Strategy Part II: Continuing from PART I
When I'm trying to get started and I'm a little scared that I might not be able to keep the momentum going I resort to a few tricks.
Sometimes I write against my usual habits. So, for me, that would be to do absolutely NO description. I try to put everything into dialog or action. Or I work at nailing the emotional moment with internal thought or an expressed desire. Sometimes this strategy stretches my brain out and makes me see possibilities I hadn't before.
In Sliding on the Edge I'd written all kinds notes about my MC's lifestyle: her crummy apartment, the seedy part of town she lived in--tons of description. I loved it all, but I couldn't think of starting my book with any of it.
Then I wrote two words. They expressed her internal fear. Not one bit of description. Amazingly enough this is how the book began. Something's wrong.
Another little trick I play on myself is to write what the character wants more than anything else.
Here's a start to one of my young adult WIP's. I'm still fiddling with this, but I'm getting closer to where I think this book should start.
After the hanging, Catherine made one vow. She’d clear Pa’s name. She’d have him buried in sanctified ground. Until she’d done both of those things, she’d not rest. And she didn’t. Then Jonah arrived, but over a hundred years too late.
Action, especially if I can combine character, helps me with my starting point, too. Here's how I've decided to begin the sequel to Alligators Overhead, my first middle grade novel.
Pete rolled his bike across the porch and down the ramp, slow and quiet. Once he got to the sidewalk, he straddled the seat and shot off to Weasel’s. After being grounded for almost a week Pete needed a Weasel fix. Mostly he needed to tell him about the mess he was in and get him to figure out how to read the mysterious note. That note might be exactly what he needed to get out of trouble.
Any tricks up your writerly sleeves? I'm always looking for more ideas. Actually, I need all the help I can get. :-)