My latest novel is currently being proofread and content read and while that is going on, I figured hey, let me start working on a new book! I mean, sure I would love to start milling out query letters and picking out a new desk for when my name is in lights and all that, but…
…after I take the shrink wrap off my face and get some oxygen, reality sinks back in and I need to step back from everything for a bit: the book, the list of agents and yes… the shrink wrap.
I started sketching out a new book idea: character backgrounds, settings, the gist of the story, etc. And it sounds really good. These two people are going to meet under certain circumstances (encroachment!) and despite not liking each other, will wind up saving each other.
But this is one of those stories that has to start in the middle, you know? It can’t start in the beginning because, well, the beginning is fucking boring and who gives a shit what street the woman lives on or the step by step of why she is such a screw-up? None of that matters right away.
What matters right away is that she broke down on the side of the road – her car is filled with maps and empty bottles of Blackhaus – and she needs help. What matters, is how her past affects her present day situation and how it will help or hinder her ultimate goal which is to forget about the dead guy who broke her heart.
What doesn’t matter right away is how she came to be such a screw up; why she is driving down a dark desolate road in the middle of the woods; why she has empty bottles of Blackhaus in her car.
That will all come over time.
I’ve sketched out two story ideas with a few ways as to how she winds up there. It doesn’t come to be known until later in the book. One of those, “oh, ok, I see what is going on now.” But not in such a way that the whole story makes no sense.
What also matters, is the guy she meets in the middle of the woods and how his back story brought him to the middle of the woods because he is trying to forget the past as well. But it all has to ooze out like a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. It can’t pop out like a wretched jack in the box or a clown from underneath the bed.
I’m all about knowing who the story is about, but there are better ways than an information dump, right?
How do you feel about information dumps?
Where do you typically start your story?