I AM ON FIRE!
I just finished writing a scene/chapter that was about 3200 words long, AND I LOVE IT!!!
It’s fun to be excited about writing a book. Even if I have a cold that’s filled the wastepaper basket by my desk with used tissues.
I’m being incredibly prolific, even for me. I’m not sure why.
Well… yes I am.
I was kicking around the idea for this book for, oh, I don’t know – maybe three weeks? Almost since I finished book 2 in the series. (I wasn’t thinking about book 3 while I was writing book 2 because that gets weird. You won’t let yourself do some stuff because you’ll be like, oh, that could be in book 3.) Instead…
I made book 2 as packed full of good stuff as possible and THEN, when it was finished, I looked at book 3.
For like three weeks.
Three loooonngg weeks.
I was like, okay, WHAT will book 3 be about???
What’s the burning question that we need to know?
I had one thought – which I can’t tell you because it’s a really big reveal for the book, but I knew that just that one thing wasn’t enough for a whole book.
So I would make notes about ideas, stare at them in disgust, and get on my treadmill (or as I call it, my idea generator).
NOTHING gets the ideas flowing like working out on a treadmill. I’m not sure why; maybe because I don’t really want to do it. I mean, I do, but workouts are work.
Anyway, I was working out and I said, okay, we have ONE idea. What else?
Monday: maybe this and this.
Tuesday: wow, those ideas from yesterday sucked.
It went on like that for a while, and I said, well, there’s no rush for Book 3. I’ve done well with deadlines, and I’d like to be productive over the holidays, but maybe it’s just not gonna happen right now.
And as you know, if you wait for inspiration, you’re a waiter, not a writer.
That kinda bothered me. As it’s supposed to.
But I tempered that with the advice from Jim Patterson (if you spend a hundred bucks on a guy’s master class, you get to call them Jim): it’s better to spend a few extra days outlining than to start writing and then get stuck.
I agree. But I worried that a few extra days was turning into a few weeks.
Nevertheless, I’m a good writer. I’ll make it happen. And I stayed after the outline. I stayed after ideas.
Then one day last week, it struck. I was on the treadmill and I as like, oh, what if THIS happened!
Then, I was like, and this! And this!
Each day, when I went to work out, the ideas came crashing forth!
But I did the right thing.
I gathered them up and I created an outline.
Now, my outline isn’t the cleanest piece of writing you’ll ever see. This one’s actually quite sloppy. But I emailed five bullet points to my editor, and she replied saying, “I can’t tell much from this but I’m glad you’r excited.”
Good point. it needed fleshing out, if for no other reason than I’d need to remember stuff later on down the road.
So I started explaining the basic plot and the subplots to her, but not in their actual order, just in clumps of paragraphs that said things like, the X character will meet Y character, and they will do ABC.
Then she got excited. She pointed out which story lines really interested her. Those story lines really interested me, too!
(Why write it if they don’t?)
Point is, it – the story – was happening.
When I had those clumps or paragraphs, I had the “go to” info for my story. Now, it was just a matter of arranging it into the order it would have to happen.
But I didn’t do it.
Because I started writing.
I didn’t break the rule. I outlined. But I always give myself the leeway to change the story as I go, and with my clumps I was ready to begin. I knew how the story would start, how it would end (it’s a terrific ending) and all the stuff in the middle – I just didn’t decide yet what order all that middle stuff would happen in.
Long story short, I was excited about the plot, the ending, and all the subplots, so I started writing. 6 days and 16k later, I’m going strong – because an outline gives you an amazing set of writing prompts every day – and
if a story prompt doesn’t fire you up, ask if you can boil it down or better yet, if it doesn’t interest you, why write it?
If any of you have read this far and would like to opine on what order the opening chapters ought to be in, contact me and ask for the book to date. It’s 8 chapters and 16k, but it can probably begin in any order. YOUR input could shape the start of the story!
Okay, time to take a short break and then get back to the story!