Countdown to Opening Day

Pick your sport. Ponder its opening day. The feeling is like that, only now we’re the players. Yes, one and all, it’s less than a week until NaNoWriMo.

Dance of the Giddy Creative
Huff. Puff. Training. Making sure my fingers are ready to play as a team. Don’t want any holdouts. Don’t want any contract issues with management upstairs in the skull. Too, I’m verifying my finger players have the equipment they need.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Yeah, I like to be prepared. Rations. Phone destroyed. Windows boarded up. Braces on the door. I look outside and see police with bull horns. What, I’m supposed to be fooled by that? I’ve got a book to write! Fire trucks and billowing smoke? Obviously CGI. It’s amazing what people will do to sidetrack you.

Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. A little.

What you’re witnessing is my mind transitioning from prep brain to drafting brain (neither is to be confused with editing brain, who’s so picky). It’s difficult to write a serious blog post right now that doesn’t waltz off into the Alice in Wonderland hookah haze.

Okay, I’ll try harder.

Views of a Prepared Obsessive
I become consumed, but this post is proof I also like to keep a sense of humor while reveling in the process. It’s exhausting, but I love it. Making notes in the middle of the night. Attempting to write on damp paper in the shower. Stopping short in the store (on one of my few trips) to enter ideas into my phone.

Location Symbols. Image: CA Hawthorne

Location Symbols Creator: CA Hawthorne

And to think I’m more prepared this year than I’ve ever been. Maps. Character sketches. A narrative outline. Essays written on pertinent issues. Research. Backstory. Yet, for all that, what makes me excited is how it all comes together to produce more than I envisioned, like characters who reveal an aspect I didn’t foresee.


Of course, if I was writing the story of me writing the story I’d have all those elements in hand, sit at the computer on November 1st, and have no idea what to write (more tension that way). The scream would wake the undead. I’m visualizing an opening image where I’m sprawled amidst the scrapheap that was my computer. Careful, Christina, you’re becoming creative again.

Okay, hopefully it doesn’t come to despair and destruction.

It won’t.

The Plan in the Plan
Already my mind is digesting the information I’ve produced and churning it, shaping it. Scenes are playing in the background like a TV left on when someone’s recording a video. That includes the opening scene:

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Forced to travel with the two people she least likes, Ergain is confronted on the trail by desperate highwaymen. And to think the moment represents her homecoming.

Who knows, maybe I’ll scrap the opening before the 1st or in the editing stage. What matters is I have a launching point. No sitting down and saying, “H’m let’s see…” Instead, I sit down having shaped and reshaped and reshaped again the story’s beginning. On opening day I wake up in my running shoes, my fingers screaming to be unleashed.

Fingers unleashed! In the news today, ten fingers went on a dancing rampage in the keyboard district. No fatalities are yet reported, but thousands of words have gone missing. It’s suspected they’re being held at an undisclosed location. More on this story as it continues to unfold over the course of November.

Whoops. And I was so well behaved for awhile…

Outside the opening, I allow my mind to wander through any scenes it’d like, but it’s the opening that’s vital for a successful start. Similarly, I try to stop in places where ideas are already formed. If not, I begin with backing up a short distance and recapturing the spirit of where the story was going when I stopped the night before.

But it all starts with the start, of course. Good luck to everyone!

7 Replies to “Countdown to Opening Day”

  1. Pingback: Countdown to Opening Day | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. So well prepared!

    I decided, at the last minute, that I’ll do NaNo in the end, so once again I’ll start completely unprepared. Well, not completely: my Scrivener project has been created and I’ve started jotting down scene ideas and placing them on a timeline. That’s… something.

    Anyway, I’m not really aiming at 50k. Well, I am secretly wishing I’ll reach that word count, but anywhere above 30k will make me happy. I’m… “kinda” aiming for 40k. We’ll see.

    • Glad you’re joining in! My first time, back in 2014, I decided at 11PM on 10/31. Guess I like to do unprepared to the max. I had been tossing around the idea for a couple of weeks, so I at least had ideas. I’m sure you’ll exceed expectations.

      And just like that—we’re writing buddies! I’ll cheer you on. 🙂

  3. Seems like Misha is well-prepared as well. And the line “It all starts with the start…” couldn’t help reminding me of the famous line “Begin at the beginning…and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” I somehow have always had this sly suspicion that Lewis Carroll was addressing us writers when he made this comment 😀

    • Misha is so well prepared she’s been putting in additional napping hours. You never know when she’ll need to flex her editing claws and remove characters. If you aren’t a feline your status is always in jeopardy. Lewis Carroll had a knack for addressing what he didn’t seem to be addressing while leaving little doubt he was addressing it—until you thought about it. If only I could equal such wit. 🙂

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