Really, I get WAY too excited about this. But it takes me soooo long to fill up a whole Moleskine that when I get to crack open the spine of a new one, it's like Christmas morning.
Then, of course, I'm too nervous to write anything on the first page, so I have to wait for a bit. And this last journal — you know what was on the first page? "I have finished a book." In September 2007, I finally finished my first novel, Love Spun (which turned into How to Knit a Love Song). I was so dang over the moon about it, and in the pages of the journal I spun a little dream about publishing something someday. I finally knew I *could* finish something.
I love that journal.
And hey, you know what has saved my bacon many times in various journals? I'm one of those people who writes ALL OVER the book. I keep my diary in the front, but that probably comprises the fewest pages. I write fiction, make knitting notes, jot ideas, makes lists, worry and plan and hope, and just WRITE in general. I never pay attention to where I am in the book — I just open to a blank page and go. Then, of course, I could never find what I was looking for until I did this simple trick:
I number the pages as soon as I get the journal. It's that easy. Then, when I write something that I think might be of use later, I jump to the very first page and add it to my Table of Contents. Yes, everything is out of order, and the numbers jump around (just like my brain!), but I can FIND things.
And I use the heck out of tabs and post-its. Totally helpful.
Oh, what was that? You want the magic formula that I highlighted pink? It says, "He shines spotlight, it backfires." Wish I could remember what that meant, exactly. And why it was magic. Huh.
But under character motivations, I'll give you what I have because I use it a LOT. (I can't remember where I got it, so I can't attribute it, I'm sorry….)
Questions: What is your character's immediate problem? What CHOICE does she face? What terrible thing will happen because of that choice?
It's important to me to keep these questions in front of me all the time, because I tend to be too easy on my characters. I let them have too much chat time in first drafts. Must do bad things to them! Must be very mean!
Now, I'm off to write something….
Get a Free Short Story!
Subscribe to get a free copy of Socks for Alex, a Cypress Hollow Short Story, compatible with all devices!