The Holiday Season Is Here
It’s December. Time really soars! If I’m not careful, this winter project of mine will turn into a spring project. It’s fine with me if it does. Nobody wants to rush creativity, unless you are the type of writer who is determined to push quantity over quality. Yes, those people do exist.
The meat of the story is well underway now. There are multiple threads weaving through the book, and I’m hoping they don’t end up a tangled mess! The outline has so far kept me on track, which is a real blessing.
Some of the more difficult scenes that occur in the book have now been written. Somehow, I gritted my teeth through the pain and put the words on the page. As some of you know, my father passed away this year. Writing about crime, and in particular the subject of death in my mysteries, can be trying at times. I’m pushing through, however, and hope that I’m producing a book that all of you will enjoy, no matter how painful some of it has been to write.
Right now, I’m working on chapter twenty-two. Selena and Jameson have been working two different sides of the case independently, and that’s been different. Now, however, they are working together to uncover some corrupt folks. Behind that corruption, a killer is hiding. (Dun, Dun, DUUUNN!)
Time to get back to it.
What is it that makes us writers? Where does it come from? The same can be asked of a painter, who visualizes scenes onto a canvas from his mind. It’s an interpretation, the original conception is always much different than the end result. It takes practice, trial and error, and repetition to get to the point where the physical creation adequately represents the artists original vision.
Throughout the planning process for my new novel, there was a strong scene that played out in my mind repeatedly. Anytime I thought about the project, this scene would jump into my head. It was a quiet one. Sunny, on an old country road. The only sounds were of wind rustling the autumn leaves, and the crunch of bicycle tires on gravel. The rider was smiling, carefree, so lost in thought that she didn’t even notice the car approaching from behind.
That’s the way it was. When I sat down to make some notes, or even to write, I could hear the crunch of those tires, feel the crispness in the air. This scene did actually occur in the novel a couple of chapters ago. The end result wasn’t exactly what I had originally planned, mainly because the time of day was wrong for it. In fact, it wasn’t daytime at all.
It didn’t feel like the scene was totally lost in translation, though. As a matter of fact, I think it turned out better than what I visualized. It was darker, more tense than before. That’s a good thing.
Wherever that scene came from in my head, as with any scene, all I can do is try my best to interpret it with words and hope that I create a moment that you as the reader can see, or feel. For me, making the reader feel is worth every word. It’s worth celebrating. That’s why I do what I do.
Today, I’m going to be writing chapter fourteen. I’ve been sticking to my new writing routine (more on that here) and things have been going really well, word count wise. It’s nothing like the what the Monthers push out on a daily basis, but it is more than what it used to be.
Selena and Jameson have their hands full today, not only with the investigation but with the TBI and local authorities as well.
The coffee is hot. Scrivener is open. George Winston’s Midnight is playing on the radio. The weekend was long, and I’ve been feeling pretty sick. I can’t stop the words, though.
It’s time to get back to it.
Titles and Outlines
Today, I’m getting geared up for chapter eight in my winter novel. The tentative title for the book is Slow the Rain, but there’s a good chance it’ll be changed. It’s not that I don’t like the title, but there are a few others tumbling around in my head that may just fit the story more.
I came up with the title while writing the outline of the book. Which brings me to something I keep meaning to mention here. Outline. Seriously, do it. It will help you get those words on the page, help keep you focused, and will likely see you reaching the end of your first draft much sooner. I hear writers complaining all the time about how they started writing a book, but then their characters started to do whatever they wanted. One author actually asked me how I keep my characters in line. It’s simple. Before I write, I double check my outline to see what it is specifically that I have to tell next, and then write it. That’s the beauty of the outline. If you do your whole book, you won’t get lost, and neither will your characters.
It’s been a slow morning. Yesterday, my new writing routine (see last weeks post) really kicked into gear. During the morning hours, I managed to write all of chapter seven. That’s pretty good, considering I’m trying something new and different with my routine (thank you monthers, more on that here).
The only thing that hasn’t quite worked yet is my afternoon session. You see, the plan is to write early in the morning and later on during the day. Unlike the monthers, this would mean that I’m not writing 10k words a day, but it does mean that I’m upping my word count. Basically, my intention is to get the fans of Selena Marrenger more mysteries at a quicker pace. Seriously, though. Who wants to wait for a book that comes out once a year in a series? If that’s you, great, but it’s definitely not me.
Haaave you met Maggie?
The coffee is fresh. Pumpkin Spice creamer is filling the room with a pleasant, fall aroma. I’ve turned on Spotify, and am listening to the Interstellar soundtrack. It heightens the mood, stirs images in my mind.
Chapter eight follows a police detective named Norma Perry. As some of you may have guessed, I like to write strong female leads. She’s tough, but quirky. If I had to make a comparison, it would be… well, imagine a combination of Maggie’s humor and Selena’s strength. She’s a good detective, has a good head on her shoulders, and won’t back down. Especially when she’s chasing a lead.
Oh, that’s right. Some of you haven’t met Maggie yet. She’s featured in my new novella, Tanglewood. Subscribers to my newsletter got a sneak peak at the cover artwork for Tanglewood as well as a sample. Don’t worry, though. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’ll get your chance in a couple of days to meet Maggie. Yes, you read that right. Tanglewood will be released on October 22!
Now, it’s time to get back to work. I hope to finish all of chapter eight today, and maybe even start chapter nine. The baby is teething, and has been rather fussy, but hopefully I can meet my goals. Wish me luck!
There’s a crispness in the air. Each morning brings with it the chill of winter. You know what that means? It’s time for me to get to work on my winter project!
I’ve been reading a lot of articles and forums concerning people who publish books once a month. These monthers seem to be quite insane, writing as much as 10k words a week. To be honest with you, that’s just not how I operate, nor do I think I could ever operate. Especially since I have college classes to think about, raising a two year old, cooking, cleaning, drinking coffee, etc. One thing that I did manage to get from reading posts by the monthers was a few pointers as far as routine goes. One author declared that she writes 2k words in the morning, takes care of her daily life in the early afternoon, writes 1k more words in the late afternoon, takes care of dinner and kids, and then writes another 2k words at night.
That much effort deserves a standing ovation.
It made me think about something a colleague once said: “Do what you love, and treat it like a job.”
Do What You Love
With that in mind, I’ve changed up my routine a bit. Instead of writing once a day in the mid afternoon, I figured, since I’m waking up at the crack of dawn to get my eight year old ready for the bus, might as well write after sending her off. Well, guess what?
Not only did it work, it worked spectacularly well.
Does that mean I’m going to write as much as the monther three times a day? Probably not, but it felt inspiring. It made me feel like making it my day job wasn’t so far out of reach. That’s a good thing, because wouldn’t you want to do what you love as a job? Well, I love writing, so there it is! Might as well make it happen.
Bet you want to know what I was working on. You do, don’t you? The anticipation is killing you, I can tell these things. Calm down, take a deep breath. (Breathes deeply, attempting to calm excitement).
It’s a brand new novel.
That’s right. A full length novel. I haven’t even attempted a novel since Monsoon Morning, and now here it is.
The cast is set. The outline is finished. As a matter of fact, I’ve been picking at the book for a couple of months and am already 10k words into it.
What Makes You Tick?
With this new series of blog posts, I’m not wanting to blab on about the story content of the book. Instead, I figured it would be cool to delve into the creative process and routine while working on it. What would inspire me to write particular scenes, what moods am I trying to evoke, does it feel successful?
If you’re into that sort of thing, then stick with me! I’ll keep posting, mainly because I think it could be an interesting study.
Are you a monther? Are you just starting a new writing project and trying to fit it into your routine?
Let me know in the comments!