Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Now I'm no Thomas Edison, and the genius part is questionable (an IQ test said so, but hello, have you seen my life?)...but when it comes to writing, I think this quote is particularly apt.
So substitute the word "writing" for the word "genius" and there you are.
I'm almost at the end of the current work in progress, a novel I haven't talked about much in specifics because both my agent Elaine Spencer and I are SUPER excited about it, and as far as I can tell, no one else has come up with the idea...a rarity in publishing. So I'm keeping it under my hat until it is ready to send out on submission.
I can tell you, though, that in the midst of the perspiration part of the process (I wrote over 10,000 words this weekend alone, as the book bubbled up and tried to push its way to those magic words, "The End") I have been thinking a lot about the inspiration that led to it.
Don't get me wrong--the idea is all mine. But the glimmerings that led to it, and in particular the novels that inspired me to use words and tell the story in a way that is different from anything I have done before, that all comes down to three of my favorite authors, and three specific books.
If you know these books, and can put together a few clues, you may get an idea about where my hush hush book is heading. Either way, I recommend these three books as highly as any I have ever read.
I am currently rereading (for probably the 3rd or 4th time) the book that kicked it all off for me, Patricia A McKillip's Solstice Wood . McKillp usually writes what I would consider "classic" fantasy, and her use of words to paint vivid pictures is unparallelled. Solstice Wood is a departure from her usual novels, in that it takes place in a realistic modern setting. More or less...
Another of the books that started the pot stirring (or in my case, you might better say cauldron) was Alex Bledsoe's The Hum and the Shiver . I fell in love with Alex's writing through his fabulous Eddie LaCrosse books, which are a spectacular cross between noir mystery novels and the sword and sorcery fantasy I loved in my youth. Now this guy is definitely a genius. The Hum and the Shiver is a new series set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and contains twists and turns and musical riffs that make it a delight to read.
The last (but not least) of the three was The Enchanted Emporium by Tanya Huff (best known for her Blood Ties books that inspired a TV series). This one is set in Calgary, and involves, well, an enchanted emporium (that is, a store filled with magic--in more ways than the obvious). This is another one I will end up rereading over and over.
The book I am working on [insert secret name here] is not really like any of these books. Except in the ways that it is. But if I can come even close to creating the intriguing characters, well-drawn worlds, and sense of tangible magic that these authors achieved in these three books, then all the perspiration will have been worth it.
TBT: December 2007
6 hours ago