Novel Beginnings

When I tell people I write novels, their response is frequently one of astonishment. People seem unable to comprehend how I have the time or tenacity to write hundreds of pages. They express their own writing shortcomings or lack of imagination.  I smile.

Writing a novel is an opportunity to create your own worlds. To decide who will live and who will die. Who will love and who will loathe. It’s an opportunity to answer all those questions you have about life. A chance to solve the puzzles that surround you.

Different people have different processes. Some people outline an entire story. Others let the words flow. I’m somewhere in the middle. I start with an idea or a question, and then I ponder the basic structure. I almost always start with a person, usually the protagonist. My work in progress (WIP) is an exception to that rule; I quickly discovered that one of the key characters, the protagonist’s father, was insanely interesting (he’s an immigrant from Kiev – a thief, murderer and bootlegger, not to mention the father of my protagonist). As a result, the focus of the WIP shifted to tell his story.

Bookstore in Mazatlan, Mexico

Starting a new novel is daunting. You know you’ve got at least 70,000 words before you can type ‘the end.’ But that’s also the beauty of novel writing. You have a huge canvas on which to paint the evolution of a person, a problem and all that comes between. And all you need to do is write.

What do you dream of exploring?


Lauren J

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