Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Black Shift or the Eggplant Pantsuit?

Every new book is a new experience. The first one... I dove head in, a few scrawls on a piece of paper to lay out basic characters and a thin plot and in I went. It was a mess. A wonderful, adventurous mess! I discovered the story as I wrote, and fell in love with it anew each day.

The second came to me as an entire book. Characters, conflict - all of it in one gorgeous rush. As far as books go, it was an easy one to write. There were a few surprises along the way, but they were small ones.

The third one... or should I say ones. Because there have been many. A failed middle grade I gave up on six or seven pages in. Lists of characters that have no plot. Lists of titles with no stories. Pages of plots with no heart. And three or four I love, but just couldn't get more than a page or two of yuck out of.

I feel like this time around is like shopping. I'm trying all these great stories and people on like outfits, trying to find the one that fits just right. There have definitely been some missteps... you know - that outfit you try on in the store and love, and then when you get home think, What in the world was I thinking??

Over Christmas I wrote a pitch. Just that. No title. No list of characters, or even any main character. A basic plot wound into a hook that came out of the tragedy of death and the emotions I was going through that very moment. It came out of where my best stories come from: the what if? It flew into my head in a moment of pure emotion. I jotted it down, and put it away.

Lost in my funk, I forgot about it until I stumbled on it today. I struggled all day seeing if there was anything there. And somewhere in the second page it came. It feels a bit like floodgates opening. The words stopped being a struggle, and something inside the story took root, and then came rushing out.

Tomorrow will I find it's like that outfit that looks good in the store and at home fits all wrong? I hope not. Because there was something there that wasn't in all those other scraps of story I eventually tossed aside:



  1. That's the best kind to have.

    I believe in you. :)

  2. If you are in it - it's great. You are a superb writer and I believe in your capabilities. . . just write and keep moving forward.

  3. Wow! I hope you fall in love with it, and then it will all just come together for you!

  4. Jen and Brit - You are great encouragers... if you'd seen some of the crap I've written lately (utter poo!) you might not be so much! :)

    Kimberly - I hope so to! Today the kids are home so I'm not sure how much I'll get written, but I'm letting it brew a bit, and I think I see a future for it. we'll see. I've been here before sort of and been disappointed, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high.

  5. how exciting - i love that feeling :)