Last week, I bought a new notebook. The kind I use to draft novels. I wasn’t sure why I was buying it, because no new story was knocking on the writer door in my head. But the impulse would not be denied. After some internal discussion, I’d passed the chocolate Easter bunny display without putting any of them into my cart, but when I got to the stationary aisle, I couldn’t pass up that notebook.
Okay, fine, I thought, and tossed it in, even though I have other things I need to be doing with my writing time right now. Polishing a synopsis. Querying agents. Revising a chapter and another book. And morning pages have been serving me well. I’ve still got room in THAT notebook. It’s just that…I wanted to write something new.
I only realized this after the notebook sat on my desk prompting me for a few days. I haven’t written a start-from-scratch book in a really long time, November of 2008. I finished that book (Traveling Girl) last June ’09. Since then, I’ve stripped and substantially revised two books. And then revised them some more. And now it’s time to send them out. I’ve got a third that just needs a little bit of attention and then it will be ready, too.
But I’m tired of revising. I need a new project and the writer inside opened her door and grabbed that notebook, even as dutiful me went about my everyday chores.
What would I write about? I asked the notebook after it sat reproachfully on my desk for a few days. Then I remembered… I’d had a tiny seed of an idea a few months ago, written it down, and tacked it to my bulletin board. Couldn’t remember what the idea had been, so I checked the note: “Woman stuck in snowstorm” was all it said, but as I read those words I saw my main character. I saw her dilemma. I picked up the new notebook and wrote the first scene.
Then, I had to get ready for work. As I packed books into my bag, I thought of the next scene. I saw it like a movie reel. I was almost late to class because I had to run to my desk to make notes. In school, as I walked from one class to another, I got a third scene. It made my heart beat faster. Really? This was my new story? I liked it!
I’ve got three characters, conflict, setting. This all happened overnight. I can’t quite believe it. I’m writing a new story, and all it took to get me started was a blank notebook.