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How to Start Again

Life is a serious bummer sometimes. There I’ve said it. I know, I know… For such a chipper person, I sure have some Debby Downer ways of looking at things on this blog, don’t I? Except that, I really don’t. What I really just did was summarize about every manuscript that has ever been submitted to me.

Life is a serious bummer sometimes.

There it is in bold, in case you missed it a few sentences ago. I mean, let’s face it, it has to be or we’d never hit the climax in the novel, right? If we didn’t have to climb a mountain, we couldn’t possibly appreciate being on top, could we?

Okay, so I’m over-exaggerating a bit. I’m completely aware of that. What I’m actually getting ready to do over here is plan a new novel. (This post is seconding as a little freewriting exercise.) Recent events have left me pretty well second-guessing every little wordlette that springs from my mouth or fingertips, and when that happens, a writer has two choices: give up or push on. I’m choosing the latter.

Hopefulness is overrated.

Not really, but it just seemed like the proper subheading to follow the last one. In actuality, though, writers have to be the most hopeful people in the world–we spend countless minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and even years writing on one manuscript. Then, because we haven’t given ourselves enough of a beating, we turn around and give it to others to assess. Not good enough? Okay! Let me put on my editing boots, stick a daisy in my hat, grab a red pen, and make this puppy shine! Then, once people get tired of reading it and tell us it’s great so that we move on, we create a proposal and send it on down the line, hoping for “a significant deal.”

However, before all of this sunshine can happen, first we have to start somewhere. (Note: I’ve already written a post about where to start your novel, but now I’m reconsidering how to start a novel.)

I’ve done standard outlines, summaries, spreadsheets that break down the manuscript into acts and pinch points, the snowflake outline, freewriting, pearl writing, and even just not writing. (That final one has been the most successful for me in terms of consistent results, by the way.) This time, though, I’m going to try something different: actually writing. Oh wait. No. What I meant was, I’m going to try character sheets and Pinterest boards.

Visualizing the end.

By golly, I sure hope you guys are at least getting a tiny chuckle out of this post, or I’m going to have to remove it before someone buys me a straightjacket for safety reasons.

Anyway, so, I’m going to start small and play with an idea I have for a picture book series… or maybe a chapter book series. Either way, first I’m going to write down some preliminary notes on the grand scheme of the series, then break that down in to main characters (thus, the character sheets). Once that’s done, then it’s time to set up my Pinterest board.

So, for those of you who have used Pinterest to inspire their stories for quite some time now, can you share some of your experiences with me? Is it beneficial? Is it a waste of time? Do you usually set your idea board to public or private, and what made you decide?

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14 Comments

  • I hope I get to read them!
    Becca Waddell recently posted..Who We AreMy Profile

  • I don’t use Pinterest at all. However, I have discovered that when I get an idea for a story, I immediately draft a query letter with a compelling hook, short (short!) synopsis, the stakes, and how I see it ending. Then I create an outline of those parts and start writing! Scrivener is a big help for that 🙂 This process helps me a lot! Even if I change the flow of my story as I go, or the order of things, etc, I can begin with a solid idea of what I am aiming for.

    Good luck!
    Susan Nystoriak recently posted..Book Review: ARTIFACTS, by Pete CatalanoMy Profile

    • Jessica S says:

      That’s actually super brilliant, Susan. In my query workshop, I mention how writers spend so much time fleshing out an idea that started out as a concept then trying to pull it back down to short form for a query, that we’d often be best served by reversing that process. So it’s neat to hear that you actually do that!

      I’ve never used Scrivener, but one of these days I’m going to have to try it out. ☺

  • Your posts always make me smile – so no straight jacket for you! I can’t offer any helpful suggestions except the Anne Lamott method – BOC (butt on chair); write a ****** first draft; edit. Whatever method you use, I know you will create something wonderful. As you know, I’m bad at believing that last part, but by putting one finger in front of the other and encouraging each other, we’ll accomplish the work God planned for us to do!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Linda

  • The Pinterest board sounds like a great idea! I am not sure if I’d use one myself, but I love the idea of having a visual outlet for expression and story organization. I might enjoy using my hands to make a physical collage instead of a virtual one. However, given time constraints, I see the appeal.

    Here’s to being hopeful, creative, and knowing the crest comes after every trough. Bring your floaties 😉
    Larysia Woropay recently posted..PietyMy Profile

    • Jessica S says:

      “Bring your floaties.” LOL!

      A physical collage would actually be an absolutely perfect way of doing things of the picture book I drafted after this post last night. Great idea! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Kathryn Long says:

    Such a great post! I love using Pinterest! I’m the visually-oriented type, I guess With my current MS I enjoy finding all things relating to Native Americans… artifacts, inspirational quotes, authentic photos of the people and cultures. I have shared this on Facebook and on my blog. I figure there are plenty of other folks out there who like to visualize like me . Enjoy the writing!

    • Jessica S says:

      I’ve started story boards of sorts in the past, but haven’t quite found a technique that it actually turns into a useful tool. However, I think that’s changing with this one, so I’m excited to see what comes from it.

      Thanks for stopping by, lovely lady!! ♥

  • Emily D. says:

    I love this. I’m such an ending person. When I wrote BBTM, I wrote the massacre first. Of course, it changed SO much after going back to the beginning, but I needed it before me so I knew what was coming.

    As for Pinterest, I used it with BBTM for the first time and found it helpful. I have a private board for my WWII stuff right now, too!

    I’m intrigued by this new book you mention. Blessings!!

  • Tamara Canty says:

    I’ve NEVER done this, but it sounds like an AWESOME idea! I MUST start doing this. 😀 <3

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About Me
JessicaJessica Schmeidler is a professional editor, ghostwriter, literary agent, and homeschooling mompreneur. While still in college, she began working from home, starting her own business soon thereafter. In 2015 she founded Golden Wheat Literary. If she's not inside reading, writing, or editing, she's outside with her daughter, riding her horses, annoying the chickens, or playing in the garden. Read More
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