Friday, December 7, 2012

Birth of a Novel: Conception

The question I heard a lot last month during my NaNoWriMo journey was: How do you do it--how do you write a complete novel?

Well, unfortunately there is no formula that works for every writer or heck, even for every manuscript. However, since I'm beginning a new project, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully informative) to show you what I go through with each and every book. Some stages are easy, some are as painful as giving birth...okay, so NOTHING is as painful as giving birth, but it's damn near as bad.

To begin with, you gotta have an idea, that spark of inspiration that lights the whole fire. The novel I'm completing this month is titled PINCH OF THIS. It will be (fingers crossed) part of a series called SPICE RACK which another author invited me to join. There are two requirements to fit into this series:
1. The couple featured in the book have to be married and need to add a little spice to the relationship. At the end of the book, they have to remain in a committed monogamous marriage, but guests in the bedroom are allowed to "spice" things up as long as they do not become a permanent part of the relationship.
2. The story has to include The Spice Rack, an item sold in department stores and other locations that one would buy gifts. Instead of holding actual spices, the jars have suggestions to spice up one's life. The couple has to use this item as a catalyst for change.

This is a little bit different way to come up with a story line because the starting point has already been decided for me. Usually ideas will just hit me out of the blue and then it's up to me to figure out the specifics. For this one, I had to brainstorm a little. I thought--married couple, spices, bored with themselves and their lives--and instantly thought of travel. Literally sampling different spices from various regions of the world. From there it wasn't hard to come up with a couple who have retired early, are financially well off, but--due to their pursuit of a comfortable life--never indulged in the travel to exotic places they planned to as young lovers. So, how to make this romantic and erotic? While they're sampling the local cuisine, they'll also sample the sexual culture of the location as well.

After this initial concept, the outline wrote itself, but that's spilling over into the next blog entry: The Outline. Love it or hate it, it's a useful tool, even if you only make broad strokes to guide your journey.



Cari Lorine said...

That sounds like a fun project, Cindy! I've never thought about writing a story to fit certain guidelines. It sounds like Spice Rack is a great project! It will be interesting to see what each author does with the actual Spice Rack in their story.

Jacqueline said...

That's a fairly restrictive framework, Cindy. Still, if you are going to be serious about the craft of writing it is the sort of challenge you should be able to meet. It reminds me of the old days on the university newspaper where we wrote things out by the inch because they had to fit column space exactly. The shout was for two-and-a-half inches on whatevfer, and that is what you had to provide.

fiona maclean said...

It does sound fun indeed! I am now curious to see how it works!

Cindy Jacks said...

Very true, Cari. I've read the proposals from several of the other authors and it's amazing how five different people come up with five very different ideas based on the same theme. Gotta love the imagination!

Cindy Jacks said...

You bring up an excellent point, Jacqueline. A professional writer should be able to write under any conditions...though I'm not sure I'd want to measure my work by the inch, lol. Then again...that does sound kinda naughty *grin*

Cindy Jacks said...

Thank, Fiona. I'll be blogging about my journey for the next couple months so I'll keep y'all updated. I've already got a great start so I'm confident it will all work out :)