Every time I start a new writing project I’m convinced that I’ve completely forgotten how. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve faced a blank screen, part of me is convinced that THIS TIME will be the time I totally blow it. That everything before now is a FLUKE. And I will never, ever remember how to write a book again.
During this panic stage, I’m unusually susceptible to outside influences. This is when I’m convinced I should try things like Journaling From The Characters’ Perspective, Making Story Collages, and worst of all: OUTLINING.
I’m totally not judging these activities. I think they’re fabulous and super-useful for people whose names aren’t Tiffany Schmidt.
But despite knowing I’m the pajama-pantsiest of pantsers, I sat down yesterday morning and dutifully typed up Chapter 1 – then bullet pointed the things I wanted to happen in it.
I made it to Chapter 2 before I started squirming in my seat. By Chapter 3 I was checking Twitter and Facebook and pacing the kitchen. Chapter ? (yeah, I stopped numbering after 4) had me in full-body twitch mode, digging through the cabinets to try and discover where St.Matt had hidden the leftover jelly beans.
Luckily, by the time I got to Chapter ???? – Unknown Plan is Executed with Stuff & Scariness, I gave up. I woke up. (and part of me wanted to THROW UP – I really think I’m allergic to planning).
Then I did what I should have done all along – the thing that’s served me well on every other book…
I started writing the kissing scenes and dialogue first.
Sometimes you just have to know your writing style. And more importantly, BELIEVE in your process. It may not work for anyone else, but if it works for you, cling to it like a baby koala bear.
When I’m mad at my dear, dear friend Scott Tracey, I call him Scottopher. It has more heft as a lecture name, don’t you think? “Scottopher Tracey, get down here this minute! And no dessert for you!“
Well, Scottopher is getting All The Looks this morning & I’m not mailing him any of the cinnamon buns I made this week. What was he thinking tagging me in a writer chain letter? He knows how I feel about luck.*
My debut novel, Send Me a Sign, is ABOUT superstition— if I break the chain, that’s probably like spitting on a black cat or playing paintball in a funhouse mirror room.
So here are the rules (copied straight from Scott’s post)
Open your most recent novel or work-in-progress.Turn to page 7 or page 77.Count 7 lines down.Copy (or read aloud in a vlog post) the next 7 sentences…in their entirety.No cheating or editing!!!Then tag 7 more authors!
And here is my snippet — it’s an email my MC (Della) receives early in the book. And it’s exactly seven sentences.
Della. I’m sorry. So sorry. I never meant for this to get out. I know I promised I’d delete it. I’m so sorry. So sorry.
This is from my current contemp WIP. Codename: Full Nuder**
Oh. And my seven people:
*Scottopher, I’m not really mad. In case you were worried, which you weren’t because my anger is about as scary as a rage-filled cupcake.
** Yes, this does make me gigglefit EVERY time.
*** Remember that book I was raving about in my last post, The Archived? She’s sharing from THAT!