Yesterday at the Minneapolis Central Library write-in, I spent four of the five hours taking notes on the political timeline for the historical Cleopatra in the decade before the Battle of Actium, and figuring out how to turn it into scenes. Not everything goes into a scene, and background is best revealed in the course of an argument. I know my ending; I’ve known it for six months. So at this point, it’s a matter of getting there.
At the end of four hours’ work, I had a list of seven scenes, together with a rough synopsis of each. I created a text file for each scene in Scrivener, then dropped the synopsis into the notes for easy reference.
In the last 45 minutes of the write-in, I wrote the first scene. One down, six to go. It’s going to be a race to the finish line, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everything is subject to revision. My Boss Battle, aka Actium Redux, need not be logistically reasonable; my scene-setting is probably acrawl with anachronism. At this point, the object of the game is to produce a 50,000-word starting draft for the real work.
This November has been weird. I’ve been feeling as if I’m forcing it and I’m just showing up and doing homework. Yesterday, that changed. Once I was looking at that outline, I started falling in love with the project. It’s going to be a crummy first draft, but this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. This novel and I are going to be spending some quality time together in the next eighteen months.