I woke up and blinked the light outside my bedroom window. I hated living in New York, living in this tiny, cramped apartment with a girl I wasn't sure I could call my friend, though it was good of her to let me crash here for a while. My aunt and uncle's large brownstone was getting cramped and I couldn't live the life of a single twenty-something woman in my grandmother's apartment. She thought staying out past four was late. My uncle has already said that as a black woman, there were certain places in Brooklyn that I just shouldn't go. He failed to tell me what these places were. Was it Red Hook? Was it any of the places I was already going, any place where there was a Barnes and Nobles? I laid back down and prayed for sleep to return.
This scene raises a lot of questions that I didn't have to be bothered with just yet. I'm simply trying to get the story down. I'm not yet trying to understand the characters, their motives, their yearnings or desires. I used this method for a story that I'm working on and for future stories that I started writing. You can find it in The Architecture of the Novel: A Writer's Handbook by Jane Vandenburgh. I'm still in the first chapter, but it's been very helpful.
The library was closed when I walked up to the entrance. The street lights were on, but would go off in a few hours. There weren't any cars on the street and I couldn't see anyone driving or walking up. I looked at my MP3 player for the time and realized that I had at least a 30 minute wait.
I think Vandenburgh especially work when you've been trying to write a story that you haven't been able to. Things happen in scenes, even when nothing seems to be happening. Characters reveal secrets, questions are raised that you have to go back to when you're ready to write the story. This method makes writing even more enjoyable. Pick up this book when you get a chance.