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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Author's Life: Giving Birth to a New Book

I've started working on a new novel. I'm not going to tell you its name yet, but I can tell you it is a paranormal romance with a fun twist on an old foreign fairy tale; a dark book with a hint of whimsy. For now, we'll call it TBY.

As any of you who have kids know, no two children are alike. Some come out of the womb feisty and independent, others are timid and clingy. Dark and light, smart or slow, calm or volatile--each one has his or her own personality and style, and yet we love them all.

So it is with manuscripts. One of the things that has struck me as I've written the last couple of books is how different each one is from each other. I'm not talking about things like plot and characters (although that too, of course). I'm talking about how each book wants to be written.

Those of you who are authors already know what I'm talking about. Each book tends to show up with a different voice, new demands, and sometimes, what worked for previous manuscripts doesn't work on whichever one is on your plate right now. It's kind of strange, but also fun.

My previous approach was usually to outline the entire book (anywhere from 7-21 pages of general plot, character notes, who is doing what and why), and then just dig in and write it. On SEEDS OF CHANGE, the last manuscript, I tried that. And the book simply refused. I had to do some serious brainstorming with friends to even get the first 3 chapters down, and write the first 2 (one from the female protagonist's point of view, and one from the male's POV) in order to discover who they were and what they wanted. The book fought me until I was about halfway through, and then, finally, settled down. Hardest book I ever wrote. And that was before the massive revisions.

The current one, on the other hand, seems to be talking to me all the time. The characters are firmly in my head (a little bit too firmly, maybe...since I keep thinking about them when I'm supposed to be doing other things, like, y'know, driving). I have a few pages of notes, and I keep having to pop online to look up strange and obscure stuff, but I think once I have the first couple of chapters down I will be able to outline most of the rest, at least vaguely.

The big problem? I always do the majority of my writing at night. Usually between 7-10:30 PM. This book, however, seems to want to be written in daylight. No idea why. And I'm not sure what I've going to do about it. But sometimes, there is no arguing with your children.


  1. But at least your child is talking to you. That's a good start.

    Mine has no interest in soundtracks or collages or notes. It's just a train to somewhere and I have to try to stay on for the ride, sometimes holding onto the roof.

    Looking forward to your next book. And to the publication (which will happen) of Seeds of Change. So Says The Skye.

    1. Well, since you said so, it is as good as done!

      And I don't do soundtracks (I write to silence, if you don't count cats complaining and background bird twittering and such) and don't do collages, either. Ah, well.

  2. I love it when I have to look up strange and obscure stuff.
    Can't wait to read this one or the last one. Can I urge your publisher to work faster?

    1. Sadly, you will have to urge a publisher to sign me, first :-)

      The nonfiction is pubbed by Llewellyn, but the fiction is still trying to find a home. (Except the one book I ePubbed for my fans.)

  3. Yes, I agree. They all have there own emotional underpinnings these stories of ours. The demands they make on us are as interesting as the thoughts that finally emerge onto the page. I wrote one in the early morning hours, another required from 3 to 6pm. Go figure. : )

    1. My first few books were more alike in their patterns (maybe because I wasn't paying attention when they told me they didn't want to be...)

      But now that I am working on my seventh novel (yikes! and that doesn't count the 6 nonfiction books--how did that happen?), I am more aware of the process, and finding it simply fascinating.