I am finally jumping on a task that I have intended to do for years, but for some reason never started. I'm writing a book. A real book with plot, characters and maybe even a conflict or two. I'm finally going to do it. It is #4 on my Bucket List and I probably need to cross something off of it now and then.
One of the many problems with taking on a task of this size is the knowledge that I have never done this before and have no idea what I am doing. When I first started a few weeks ago, all I had was a yearning to finally write a book.
OK. I believe that is step one. ☑
Unfortunately, I really didn't know what I wanted to write. Over the years, I always thought that when I wrote a book, it would be a collection of stories from my childhood. I have hundreds of stories that would be fun to tell, but that would really just be my blog in book form. I needed a story.
I decided I was going to tackle fiction. That's another step accomplished. ☑
Obviously, at this rate I wasn't going to get anywhere. So, I really started to spend some time with this. I know I can tell a story well. I've gotten lots of feedback from my blog posts, I just need a longer story. Then, one night lying in bed, it hit me. There is a genre that I am intimately familiar with. I love movies, TV shows and books about the topic. I really think I could give it my own twist. I immediately jumped out of bed to jot down a few ideas. I crashed into the dresser first, but once I stopped the bleeding and convinced my wife I hadn't just been attacked, I jotted down the ideas.
The next day at work, I started building the world of my book in my mind. I even paused now and then to write down some things I didn't want to forget. Since I am a humor writer, the ideas for jokes are coming to me faster than actual plot points. In the world I have created, I can see all sorts of scenarios where the jokes will come easy and I want to include them in the book, but I have no idea yet what the plot will be to make these scenarios happen.
So, I called up a high school friend Jessica Patch, who is now a successful published author and all-around good person, to pick her brain a little. I mainly wanted to know a little about her process. When do you actually start writing? Do you have the whole plot worked out before you start crafting the story? Do you need to know who all your characters already are or can the back story develop in your mind as you're writing? Is this much crying normal? How do you get melted cheese out of your keyboard?
Jessica graciously and expertly shared the answers to all my questions and gave me tips about lots of information I hadn't even considered yet. She recommended a couple of books to help me shape my story structure and offered to be of any future assistance. It was a very productive phone call.
The next day, I couldn't even concentrate on work. The ideas just started flowing. I now know my main characters. I know their families and coworkers and the plot is starting to come together. I can actually see the layout of the small town where this takes place and have begun having conversations with several of the characters in my head. It's exciting and also a little creepy. I have this fictitious existence floating around in my brain that I keep finding myself escaping to. That phone call with Jessica just opened up something in my head.
Now, I feel like it's time to start writing. I just need to break it to my wife that I will be moving south to stay with Jessica's family until the book is completed.