a (stupid) epiphany on start dates

April 1st is my start date for the Victorian book. Only not really, because it’s freaking April 1st, and I’ll just have had ankle surgery, so it might be more like April 2nd or 3rd. But anyway, I’m starting in April, and I’ve had this fixed in my head for a while.

But this is kind of a stressful thing. Will I be ready to start by April? I have a sense of who Eleanor is, but not what her circumstances will be at the beginning of the novel, nor how exactly she got there, nor what happened to the guy whose name may or may not be Jonathan. I don’t know what Dead Rick owes, nor who he owes it to. I kind of know where I’m aiming for with the end of the book, but that’s more than a hundred thousand words away, and what if this turns out like the comet book where I start writing and then figure out some of it’s wrong so I have to backtrack only then I’ve wasted that time and okay the reason I’m starting in April (instead of the usual May) is to give myself time to waste if I have to . . .

Why do I have to wait until April?

Well, because in April it’ll start being a thousand words a day, rain or shine, and if I write the scenes I already have in my head (one definite, one semi-definite, one rather vague), then that’s three scenes not queued up to get me going once I start. Except that I stopped and thought about it, and realized that’s stupid. I figure things out by writing them; I know this.

So today I wrote the prologue. (Actually I wrote the prologue back in 2007, when I thought I’d be doing this book before Ashes, but having written two intervening novels since then, I scrapped it and started fresh.) Some time this week I may write Eleanor’s first scene, or Dead Rick’s. And it may be partial and I may come back later to change things; hell, I may decide that Dead Rick is not in fact the right character for this book, which is one of the things I’ve been uncertain about. I may move Eleanor to a different part of London and kill her mother (or unkill her, since that’s another detail currently in limbo) and change my mind six times about what’s up with the daughter of the family Eleanor works for. But whatever I do, I’ll be better off poking at it now, casually, experimentally, without the pressure April will bring, because that vastly ups the odds that between now and then I’ll find the answers to some of the questions that are presently unanswered.

And the point is to get the words on the page. This isn’t NaNoWriMo, where it’s cheating to have some of your wordage done early. As long as I finish the thing by deadline, it doesn’t matter if I do it a thousand words a day or ten thousand words in a two-day binge and then nothing for a week.

So I’ve started writing the Victorian book. It isn’t April yet, but that’s okay. I have 857 words, and it’s a good start.

0 Responses to “a (stupid) epiphany on start dates”

  1. j_cheney

    Arbitrary start dates work for me, too ;o)

  2. mrissa

    Yay for good beginnings and for sorting out which work assumptions are useful and which are arbitrary.

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