Go Home! A true story from my own recent past. Besides installing flooring and preparing to be a driver for Lyft, I have been messing around with my writing by producing things that are not the novel I’m trying to get off the ground. Until yesterday morning.
Yes, morning. As I was waking up yesterday, the solution came to me. I have had the basic idea for the book since last June. The first pathetic attempt at it now has the title, “First Pathetic Attempt.” There are more attempts nestled in the directory with that one. (I use a cloud service, Microsoft One Drive, and I highly recommend that if you use a computer to produce your work, you also use a cloud storage solution. One drive integrates seamlessly into my Windows 10 installation, but any one will do you, probably.) The others have such names as, “Il ne marche pas” and “Second first draft.” One file has the same name as the now, finally, properly begun, novel. Nope. Ain’t gonna tell you. Too early, but it’ll be a good one, I’m sure.
The thing is, I tried first person with one character, then a third-person approach, then, okay, first person with another character, which is the version with the French name, and now, at last, limited third-person wherein the POV does shift, but not often enough to make me dizzy. But the big thing is that I needed some sort of real grabber to start the story with. I was seeing it as a romance, but it just wasn’t working. I had a version where a male protagonist was in trouble at the beginning, which is okay, but not for a romance. I had a version where a female protagonist tells it all, but it seemed flat. I had a character disappear out of the story, which was putting too many restraints on the plot. And then, yesterday morning, as I was waking up, BAM!
The new version, the version that I think will stick, opens with a rape. Or at least non-consensual sex, for those who like to parse meanings. That’s the thing that will carry the entire story, always under there, always causing trouble, possibly ending/changing/starting relationships. And it will justify (when I’m done with it) some pretty nasty stuff happening to the bad guy. (The guy who rapes the girl, you fool!)
So, point is, I went big, and it worked! No, no vivid descriptions of exactly what happens. Plenty of that available for free, innit? But an emotional description from her POV. Not so much of that available for free. So, it’ll be months before this thing is ready to talk about, but stay tuned, because talk about it I shall. And so shall my characters, all of whom, of course at this stage, I love.
In conclusion, if you’re having trouble starting a story, try going bigger. It costs nothing (maybe some paper and ink) but it can yield some big rewards!