If I were to plan a day to start on my new novel, yesterday would not have been it. After my hair appointment (which I’ve needed for a month), a dentist appointment (no cavities, I get a gold star!), an hour talk with my agent over some business stuff (gotta love her), normal stuff like making dinner (pork verde with rice), and the parenting class John and I facilitate in our home with the young couple we mentor (last one!), I barely squeezed in one hour of writing time.
Then again, that’s my real life, and I sincerely doubt that most blog readers have unlimited hours to write. So what did I accomplish in that hour?
1. Research. First, I started reading over this time in history–1937 Spain, during the Spainish Civil War. It may sound boring, but I was actually reading over the financial conflicts of the war, because one of the main story conflicts deals with that. After all, where the money flows the war follows!
As I research, I also jot down notes in two files. 1. Research. 2. Notes.
Research is where I put my tidbits of information, such as how many tons of gold were shipped out of Madrid in 1936.
Notes is where I start jotting down stuff for my novel. When I’m researching and an idea for a bit of dialogue strikes me, I write it down. Or a little description or other fiction element that strikes me at the time. I write these notes in chronological order as I think I’m going to need them. This is a great help to me as I actually begin writing the chapters!
2. Prayer and theme search. After about 30 minutes of research, I got really excited about one idea, which I think will tie in great as a major them. It was something worthy of praying about, so I escaped to my room, curled up under my comforter (my favorite praying position), and sought God’s wisdom. After all, He knows everything. Wow, He was there during the Spanish Civil War. He can also see this book finished and complete. So I asked Him to show me the next step.
As I laid there, I also began thinking about my characters and where I left them in Book 1. (This novel I’m currently writing is Book 2 of a three book series.) I thought of where they were physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I considered where I want them to go next, which because of must-needed conflict in novels, is actually one giant leap backward.
During this last thirty minutes, God reminded me of specific Scripture verses. I also jotted down a few notes concerning the other characters and the journeys of specific Biblical characters I need to go back an reread.
I also came down with my overall theme for the book. (Which I can share without giving away too much and ruining the novels for you!)
In Book One, Sophie discovered that perhaps God had a different plan than she had for her journey to Spain.
In Book Two, she will discover her focus has been on herself. God expands her vision so she can find her place in the bigger picture of the war. Her place there is not about her or what she can personally offer to the cause, and Sophie realizes that maybe she has been sent to Spain for such a time as this, to risk all she desires for the greater good.
That’s it . . . what I accomplished in one hour! But amazingly enough to give me a good leap into today’s work.