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How do you start writing a book?

I had a fantastic time at this year's writer's workshop at the Georgian Court University. Now, it's back to work with a vengeance.

I've decided to start the third Snowy book from scratch.

I like to start with the title, then, after I come up with the main character's personality and back story (something I already had in this case), I write a short, back-of-the-book blurb, which I find helps me focus when it comes to writing the outline.

Here's what I came up with:

The Cat, Bianca
Catnapped by criminals during a midnight snack search, Snowy finds himself a prisoner in a research center owned by billionaire, Benedict Barnum, the man behind the illegal experiments which led to Snowy’s ability to communicate with his best friend, 13-yr-old Bill Euston.

After each failed escape attempt, Snowy loses hope, but when his captors kidnap Bill Euston, he vows to do whatever it takes to help his best friend get home. Along with fellow prisoners, Foul-Mouth (a terrier), and a belligerent white mouse named One-Sum, Snowy forms a daring plan, but everything hinges on his ability to enlist the help of Bianca, a beautiful house cat, who finds Snowy about as likeable as someone who is not very popular with anyone, and has no redeeming qualities, at all.

It should take me a few weeks to flesh out a full outline, though I already have the ending and several sub-plots buzzing around my head.

How about you?

How do you start to write a book?

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
I shall suggest that someone send Snowy an email querying about a third book...

Jul. 15th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
I usually get an idea, let it mull around in my head for a few days, jot down some ideas here and there, and then work out the major plot points. After that I start writing up my 3x5 index cards and figuring out what scenes need to go between the major plot points. And then I hopefully get to writing. :)
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good plan, Joan :)
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
LOL...much like my life, there's no underlying plan or purpose.

For both Small Town Ghosts and for the current WIP, I started with a character and then determined the major plot turning point and then i just start writing. My first draft is basically my way of outlining and note-taking and researching, all rolled up.
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
Whatever works best for you, right? :)
Jul. 15th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
i'm so jealous that the title comes first for you - it's usually the last thing to come around for me - USUALLY i get an idea for a character and their problem - then i build a plot out of that with surrounding characters and world - then i USUALLY write up an outline - just a loose thing to help me remember what order i want the scenes to go in with some notes about what needs to happen in said scene and perhaps even a note on why they're important - title usually doesn't come for me till after the first draft (and even then, it can be a few drafts in before i even have a clue about title, and the first one rarely sticks)
Jul. 15th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
'i'm so jealous that the title comes first for you'

It never used to come first, but I find a good title really helps the old inspiration :)
Jul. 16th, 2013 12:33 pm (UTC)
Writing stories, I often begin with a title and an epigraph,
although by the time it's done, I may have changed the title,
and probably won't include the epigraph.
Jul. 15th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
How do you start writing a book?

I know of no better way than putting one's fingertips to the keyboard.
Jul. 16th, 2013 09:13 am (UTC)
Lol, I think you'd be surprised how many of us don't start that way :P
Jul. 16th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
Well, of course,
as with the well-known invasion of Normandy,
quite a bit had to happen before that armada left the harbor,
but it wasn't really an invasion
until that first paratrooper put his silk in the wind.

Likewise, quite a few us began as a six-pack of beer and a song on the radio,
but the romance, such as it was, had to be consummated.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2013 09:14 am (UTC)
It all sounds very hi-tech :)
Jul. 16th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
A bright shiny idea pops into my head, usually at the worst moment possible. I think most of these come from rem sleep as this is all I get each night for maybe two or three hours.

So I wake up, but I can't get up as it is far too early and I have to rest, or be a wreck in the morning. I take that bright shiny idea and run it with my imagination. By real wake time, I have enough for a first chapter and I know where the book is going. The title is another matter. I struggle with these and they don't occur until after the book is finished. Same with the synopsis, since I am a pantzer and the plot will run away with me if I dare outline.

Edited at 2013-07-16 02:59 am (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2013 09:15 am (UTC)
I love it when ideas strike during the night. It means you get to start the next day at a run :)
Jul. 16th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Love the new characters. Nice teaser blurb. Hope the writing goes smoothly.

Starting a book usually involves blood, sweat and tears. Preferably not my own, but sometimes that just can't be helped.

Seriously, it comes down to the moment when I can match up a character with an idea. Having only one or the other, just isn't enough for me to really dig in. But once I have a sense of a character and their situation, then I can begin.
Jul. 16th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
Starting a book usually involves blood, sweat and tears. Preferably not my own, but sometimes that just can't be helped.

Lol :)
Jul. 16th, 2013 02:06 pm (UTC)
Ha! That sounds wonderful! I'll have you know that Barnum's Revenge is the first honest-to-goodness BOOK (as opposed to ebook) on my TBR pile. Now that slush-reading for HRB is over, I should have more time for the leisurely stuff. :)

My books usually start with a file that begins-- "Ooo! Ooo! I just had this great idea..." And then I tell myself the idea as if I'm emailing myself. There it will sit until I do a proper outline. Or, as in the case of The Shadows One Walks, start pantsing.
Jul. 16th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
"Ooo! Ooo! I just had this great idea..."

Sounds like a great opening line :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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