11 December 2012

A Scene That Won't Leave You Alone - The Birth of a Novel

Have you ever wondered how a novel came to be?


It starts with a writer and an idea that love each other very much.

Ha ha...alright, I'm kidding. And you should be glad I ended there, I almost wrote the whole post based on that little metaphor.

Anyways. For me to continue with a story idea, especially anything of a novel length, I have to feel connected to the story and idea. But more than just creating an outline, character history, and setting layout, I need to really see the story.

I need the first scene to come to me first. Is that strange?

I had that happen with my current fantasy story. I suddenly got this scene of a character running into a thick forest and that is the scene that begins Chapter Two. When I got the scene, I had something to work with.Why was she in the forest? What was she running from? Who is she? Where is everyone else? All of this came to me and eventually connected to other scenes that eventually created this novel.

And I've been toying with a novel for the last several months (and longer, in fact; this is just the first time I've started paying attention) and today I got that moment. I got the scene. It's a small scene, too. Very small in fact. But it's enough and it's real enough for me to continue from there. I have something to work with and a story I've connected to.

When do you finally embrace your next novel or writing piece? Do you plunge right in with the start of an idea? Or is there a certain thing you wait on, like I do? 


  1. Good question! I'm always fascinated to hear about the different approaches writers use. I've generally started with a concept of some sort, a twist on what the world or a particular character might be like. From there, if the concept seems workable, there is usually a story to be found hiding somewhere.
    Your approach sounds similar to the one I heard Javier Cercas describe in an interview. He would start with a central scene, a key scene that would occur in the middle of the story, and work outwards from there.

    1. Oh that's so cool to know someone else uses this approach! I like your approach too!! You seem to connect to your idea quicker than I do! :)

  2. If a scene won't leave me alone- that's my sign it needs a story. For novels, I'll get one scene in my head and my brain starts creating others until I have like half a story. Sometimes though, it starts with a simple what-if. I usually let the ideas become stories all on their own before I inject myself into the process by writing them down or fleshing them out. Great post.

    1. I love your approach!! Sounds like mine, like you need time for the story to develop before you force it's hand. Very cool!

  3. I tend to get the characters going in my head before anything else. Then I go from there to see what they are up to. Ass backwards?

    1. Oh I like that approach, you must have strong character development in your stories, then!

  4. Interesting and great blog you have!


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