Saturday, September 15, 2007

The process

I just finished Twist this week. The past six weeks of writing have been hard to say the least due to my father being in and out of the hospital several times. It has made me realize how much of writing is about the mental process, especially when you get down to the last few chapters of a book.

Writing is not something you just sit down and do. There's so much mental preparation that is involved. I guess the easiest way to say it is you have to get your head in the zone and it is so easy to get knocked out of the zone.

I took my lap top with me to the hospital and went down to the main lobby to write. I found a nice cozy table, turned my back to the TV and wished I'd brought my noise canceling headphones along. The scene I was working on was fairly easy to drop into because it had been formed in my mind since the character, Shane, evolved in my mind.

Then I was graced with the visit from the little old lady with the walker. I recognized her as a hospital volunteer from the aqua coat she wore. There were several empty tables and chairs in the lobby but no, she had to come and sit down right next to me with her walker and oxygen tank. Then she preceeded to stare at me. I felt as if I was being stalked by Darth Vadar.

Out of the story immediately. Instead of writing about Shane's brother's tragic death I'm like what is up with this woman? So I move to another table but my mind is on the woman. Especially when I realized she'd moved into the exact chair I vacated. Guess I missed her name on it.

This is just one of the interruptions I had while trying to find quiet corners to write in. And after a week of running back and forth to the hospital and waiting on test results and getting my dad back home it's not easy to trudge the stairs to my office and just sit down and write. There are too many things rolling around in my exhausted mind.

It takes us so long to write a book. I wrote this one in a little over four months. But so much happens in four months that its hard to remember what you wrote when you were first starting the story. I spent the entire day yesterday, rereading. Why? For continuinty. For flow. I wrote this chapter in the car. I wrote this chapter while on vacation. I wrote this chapter at the hospital. How many different moods was I in while writing? One thing I found, that when I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open I made Abbey tired too. At least we could relate to that.

I'm happy with what I wrote. Twist was a bit different for me. A first person urban fantasy. Time Travel, alien races, lots of kick butt action and a love story. And lots of Abbey's witty observations. I think that was the best part of the whole story. It will be out in February. And now I have to totally switch gears and write a colonial period historical and prepare for the release of my next sci-fi romance, Starshadows.

Yes, my mind is spinning!


  1. Anonymous12:00 PM EDT

    Starshadows is a great title! What is it about?


  2. I hope things are settled down for you in Real Life by now. One problem I find when adverse events happen in mundane life is that, not only are they exhausting, they drain my mental energy with the feeling that the plot I'm writing about is unreal and trivial compared to the real-life troubles. It's so hard to infuse genuine emotion into a fictional plot, for me at least, when there's firsthand, concrete tribulation to compare it to.

  3. Thanks Margaret. The bad thing about the mental energy drain is that the people around you don't realize what it takes to get into the story. Its like being awakened from a particulary vivid dream.

    And Jan, thanks for asking about Starshadows. The best way to sum it up is that its about second chances. I'll be posting some exerpts here in the coming weeks.