I love writing, but I don’t like getting started. It is complete drudgery to create a multi-layered proposal. When I finally reach the right depth, it sits on my computer desktop for weeks or months while publishing houses consider whether my writing is a good fit for them.
Then I’m signing a contract and under deadline. That is such a GOOD feeling.
Such validation for all the prework when I think I have a good idea, maybe even a great idea…and then…gulp…I have to write that great idea.
All of a sudden I’m not so sure it’s a brilliant idea anymore.
This is where I’ve been living the last few weeks. I have a book due in April, with another I’m cowriting with Tricia due in February. So to give myself and this book the best chance I want to write the first draft by January — even earlier so I can enjoy Christmas and the holidays with my family.
I’ve reread the synopsis. I’ve spent time figuring out the hero and heroines — at least at a deep level — for the four related books. I’ve even thought a bit about the prequel novella I’ll write after I turn in the book. That’s required more thought about the intersection of the heroines in this series, which has been fun — and paralyzing.
Then I edited the sample chapters — usually a surefire way to get me back into the flow of the story. But I was still paralyzed.
Now I’m beginning to feel the days tick by. There are an ever shrinking number left for me to write! So I turn to trusty pinterest and create a secret board with images of my characters. Still nothing. The juice is gone. The special sauce ain’t working. I. Am. A. Hack. Good thing the publisher hasn’t sent me the advance yet, because they’ll be changing their mind!
So I go old school. I dig up a website that has calendar pages for the months my book will occur in. I get out my trusty erasable pens (LOVE these things!). And I start color coding the plots on the calendar. The top photo is what I started with. Not much. The second photo shows the current state of the calendar. It’s not complete — it’s probably 50% of the story flowed on the page. But now I can see the scenes I need to write. I can visualize if the hero’s perspective is showing up or if he’s been dormant too long.
This may seem incredibly old school. There are no fancy spreadsheets — though I seriously opened Excel and was ready to type. There are no multi-colored post its on a large board — when I’ve done that, the notes tend to float off the board.
But what it did do was unstick me. And that is invaluable! So there’s your behind the scenes look at this writer’s current state of neurosis!
And I need your help! I need to name a non-profit agency that the hero works at in Washington, D.C. It works with immigrating children and should indicate hope somehow. Any thoughts?