Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rituals of Beginning

I started DEAD IF I DO yesterday. I didn't actually write any words on the page mind you, but I started. You scoff, "How can you say you started when you didn't write any story?"

There are a certain number of things I do as part of my rituals of beginning. First, I have to create a folder under my "novels" directory with the title of the new novel. Then I have to create a document with my novel template (which has all the necessaries already in place like using Courier 12 pt, having my contact information, space for the title, my byline, etc.) and then I make space for the first chapter and rename the thing.

Then I closed my computer and watched "Little Ms. Sunshine."

So, see! I started.

What do you _need_ to do in order to start? Do you have to buy that special notebook or special pen?


tlmorganfield said...

I don't have a template like you do (though that does sound like a good idea, to save me time), but every time I start a new story, I always set it all up for standard manuscript format. I put in all the name and address stuff first thing then tab down to 4" and put my title (or a title place holder if I don't have one yet). Some folks tell me they type their drafts up in non-standard font, like veranda or TNR or garamond then convert later, but I write in courier from the very beginning. I find it easier on the eyes while I'm writing. I also really like being able to set automatic tabs so I don't have to bother with hitting the tab key everytime I start a new paragraph(this also makes it very easy to convert back to block text for the few markets that want it sent as a text file or embedded in an email, or for posting it to the place I do most of my workshopping.

So, not that exciting, but I do like the idea of a template. Maybe I'll make one today....

Melanie A. Howard said...

Well, after the (never mentioned or thought upon Gateway laptop death incident, may Geek Squad rot in hell), I've started writing hard copies (eg: by hand) instead of typing, which has added rituals, but has surprisingly cut down on the painful editing process, seeing as I do a lot of the editing in the transfer. It really helps.

First, I must select two or three blank journals with a cover that has a theme somewhat similar to what I'm writing. Hopefully, the journals also match. I write with Pentel Medium Point Purple RSVP pens (stop laughing at my OCD. I know you did. I heard it from here ;) ). The ones with the rubber grip. OH yeah. I buy them in bulk by the box online from office supply sites as to avoid shopping at the Evil Empire, which is the only store that carries them. I dislike writing with other pens, but I have made do in a pinch.

After writing "The End," I have to make a computer file. I type it first in Times New Roman with Heading 1 for the title font and two spaces between it and the writing. That's it. I organize the vignettes into chapters later. I do courier formatting when absolutely necessary, but I can't stand it and it gives me a killer headache to read it. I then tinker with the title font until I have something that speaks to the theme of the story a bit (you're laughing at the OCD again). This may take me a good half hour to decide, mind you.

Then I type it all in Times New Roman. I separate the ellipses for the sake of later formatting and I use a triple asterisk for the breaks (one full line of space between the asterisks and the next section and the section before). I also do page breaks between chapters.

Later, I save it as a new file, in the case of Once Bitten, there's Once Bitten and OBPublish. OBPublish is formatted in Courier with all the little title page wiz-bangs. But this is only after it's all typed. I don't mind a little editing in Courier, but if I want to be watching for spelling errors as I'm typing, it doesn't help the cause.

And that's me. ;)


Kelly McCullough said...

I just start writing.

tate hallaway said...

Start writing, eh, Kelly? What kind of crazy malarcky is THAT????

paintingpixie said...

I liked "Little Miss Sunshine." Thought it was a good movie.