Developing new ideas for books is an agony for me. I know many people who see ideas EVERYWHERE. I am not so blessed.
Maybe it’s because when I think of a book, I realize I am committing a minimum of two years of my life to that story. There’s the research and proposal stage. Writing the proposal is truly my least favorite part of the process, but when I’m teachable and allow myself to be pushed deep, the other side of the proposal is a book that almost writes itself.
The research piece can be fascinating and hugely enjoyable. In fact I can distract myself with rabbit trail after rabbit trail as I search for the perfect details to make a time period or setting come to life. Honestly, there’s little quite like finding that perfect nugget like what the women war correspondents wore during WWII. Those kind of details make books like Shadowed by Grace feel real to readers.
But there’s the process of creating the characters, getting to know their stories and journeys. Identifying their wounds, likes, fears, and juxtaposing them against the secret desire. There’s crafting the plot, the twists and turns, the Ys in the road that force the heroine further and further along the road to the ultimate decision. All of these details take time for me. Lots of time.
My agent has told me for years that I need to slow down and let the stories develop. That’s hard for me. Once I’m excited, I want to write now! I want to discover each twist and turn. To sit in my chair with fingers poised over the keyboard and gasp when something happens or a character says something I didn’t anticipate.
Yet the proposal I just sent back to her in the wee hours of this morning has been a work in process for a year. An entire year. That’s just the planning, dreaming, plotting, beating my head against a wall stage. Next to come is the hopeful contract, write like a mad woman, then edit and market phases.
The interesting thing is that each of us on this blog probably have a very different process. That’s what makes writing so interesting, frustrating, exhilarating, and maddening.
There is no one process.
In that lies the beauty.
What’s a creative process you’re involved in? Is it straightforward, step-by-step? Or do you find there are guidelines and suggestions and then creativity and individuality steps in?