I was talking to a writerly friend yesterday and she has an amazing idea for a novel, but no idea where to start. I've come across Pre-Novel Stress Disorder before. A writer can be so excited about their idea (and maybe it's a BIG idea that involves... gulp... world-building) that they are paralyzed by it - they can't set fingers to keyboard for fear of screwing it up completely. Maybe they think they won't be able to do the idea justice - that they'll never be able to translate what's in their head onto the page. It's a scary business.
So my suggestion was to start small. Get to know your main character. Here's a little questionnaire I provided as a starting point for said writerly friend:
Who’s her best friend? Does she even have a best friend?
Who was her first crush?
Has she ever had a serious relationship?
What does she want to be when she grows up?
How does she feel about herself? Body image?
Is she the kind of person who’s always on the peripherary, or is she more likely to be the centre of attention?
What three words would her friends use to describe her?
What’s her relationship with her parents like?
What is she scared of?
What kind of music does she like?
How many siblings? How do they get on?
Is she a cat person or a dog person?
What makes her happy?
What makes her sad?
What’s her favourite subject at school?
Would she be more likely to text you or call you?
Some fairly obvious questions there. And perhaps it won't help at all, but it's a START. And we all need somewhere to start, don't we?
So how do YOU start a new project? Do you suffer from the dreaded Pre-Novel Stress Disorder? Any tips to share?