When I first begin a new novel, I don’t believe in word count goals, or daily schedules, or progress reports or “being productive” or any of that other hullabaloo. All of that comes later, but at the beginning? No way.
And I have a very deliberate reason.
I want to let the book form itself. Grow, evolve, figure itself out… without me getting in the way. What is its essence? What does it stand for? Where does it want to go? What is my subconscious roaring to say?
A mother doesn’t instantly rush her newborn off to school the second it’s born, fresh drips of placenta trailing behind it. (Great visual, eh? Can’t you just hear the splat splat splat right now?)
I haven’t started something new quite yet, but I got to thinking about what will come after this current project, once it’s done.
The beginning of a novel is a magical, precious time. I don’t push it. I don’t shepherd it along with a pokey stick, like you sometimes have to do with a more mature story. This is when the book gets to play. When my mind is at its most fertile. When ideas can rear up out of the foam, unencumbered by what must come next or what came before. This is when seeds are sprouting that I didn’t even know were in the dirt. But the book knew.
So I let it form itself. This is not the time to rush.
Because they grow up so fast, don’t they?
Tell me, how do you begin a new project? Do you plow ahead or let it build?