Status Update: Nothing new to report on the partials and the full. Staying busy on current WIP, another urban fantasy.
I have a confession to make. Uh, no – I don’t really believe in vampires (sorry Joe, please don’t bite me). This confession concerns those darn demons of insecurity. Yes, I finished my first novel. And for that, at least one or two of said demons should have been banished forthwith and post haste. Alas, either they found their way back or they bred like hell before they left.
I allowed myself a couple of days of downtime after finishing the revisions on Set ‘Em Up, Joe. Then a couple days more to decide what to work on next. I’d already started the second in the Seeing Red series (the Cooper series), but thought it might be best to work on something else. You know, Just In Case. I had a few ideas on the back burner, but none that jumped out at me. Unlike the story about Joe – that one not only demanded to be told, Joe just about threatened to go for the jugular if I didn’t write his novel NOW.
So I jotted down a few things about each of those other ideas, such as audience & genre, primary characters, estimated word count (related to genre and audience), oh yeah – and plot. 🙂 I even went as far as working up a rough query for some of the ideas, just to see if any seemed to have more potential. By potential, I do not mean in terms of marketing. I mean in terms of being rich enough to build a world/story out of the concept. I went back and forth between my list of five possible novels. While I was excited by the idea of writing any of the five, none demanded my attention. None of the stories begged to be told first. That had me worried (here’s where the confession part comes in).
The way I figured it, if none of the stories held me captive – how could they possibly grab a reader? How could I even stand to write it (or rather revise, because you have to LOVE your story and characters to get through the revisions. And yes, I know there will be more revisions if my novel grabs the attention of an agent and then an editor)?
Then came the fear, the insecurity. I was a one-trick pony. A one-hit wonder, without actually having that one hit (yet??). Joe’s story came to me, almost in its entirety, one morning. I woke up and this guy is talking to me. Nursing a scotch, telling me his troubles, trying to charm me with his compelling ways. I outlined the larger story arc in a few days, complete with characters/relationships/conflicts. I’m not saying I didn’t make changes as I wrote the novel – and especially after working with a developmental editor – but essentially Joe and his world were real to me from the start. So real I easily became lost in his world at times.
My family quickly learned that when ‘mommy has that look’, there’s no talking to her – because she isn’t listening, she’s not even there. I was in Joe’s world, considering the possibilities, working on his story. And those moments were not few and far between. Especially when I wrote the first draft. All I could think about was the story. I mean, I couldn’t not think about it – you know? And I know many of you understand exactly what I mean when I say this – sometimes, I wanted to be in that world. I wanted to meet those people who felt so real to me in my mind – how could they not be real? (uh, hello, Catherine? Vampires do not exist). If Joe and his world could feel that real to me – could another world/story/character also have that effect? For a few days, I feared the answer was ‘no’.
So, back to writing those rough queries and sketching out the possibilities. Doing all that felt fine, but again – nothing captured me immediately. Until, one did. Today. While sitting with my family, enjoying lunch.
I’d been spending more time thinking about this one idea – working out the larger story arc, the protagonist’s personality and job and friendships. But I didn’t have the plot – not really. Or rather, not the inciting moment that had to propel her to change. The Event that would force her to take that first step. The Thing That Mattered, that made her and her story worth reading and worth writing.
So, there I am at Panera Bakery, taking a bite of my salad – and suddenly, it all came together. Just. Like. That. I looked out the window, past the cars parked outside, past the trees in the distance. Past the real world I was in, to another world quickly taking shape before my eyes. I recall my husband looking at me for a moment, then turning to see what I was staring at. Then I turned to face him, and he smiled. “You got it, don’t you?”
And I’ve been lost in that world ever since. Dear family – I’ll be back in a few months. Promise.