I’m not much of a mingler. Getting back into my WIP is almost like going to a dreaded cocktail party where everyone is familiar, I know their names, but that’s about it. I don’t know their stories enough to ask a lot of interesting questions, nor do I have history with these folks enough to say remember when? Frankly, I’m not sure if I care. It’s a conscious effort when I’m in a crowd of people I don’t yet know — and don’t yet know if I want to know. Exhausting. Sometimes unproductive. Sometimes deflating. But…sometimes inspiring and interesting and educational and enlightening and when the party is over I can’t believe I had any qualms about going.
That’s what I’m hoping for as I reopen the doc that is currently Lying to Izzy Lane. It’s only 6,000 words so far (though I do have a synopsis) and the previous title was Wednesdays at the Half-Day Café. Long title for an unwritten book, don’t you think? I’m quite sure it will end up being titled neither of those but I must write with a title the way I must go to the grocery store with a list. Without looking at the items on the list, the tone for the excursion is set because the list is either long or short (or medium) and either organized or not.
You didn’t know I was gone, but now I’m back. I re-read the first chapter of Lying to Izzy Lane. I’d say the party was a success. I’m looking forward to getting into the groove of knowing these characters better, of finding out their stories, and how their stories have stories of their own — because that’s the type of women’s fiction I like to read and write. The books that are more than surface stories (although those are fun reads too). In this book I want to explore not only Izzy’s raison d’etre at any particular moment, but how that can and does change throughout the story based on internal and external factors. This novel will be my first attempt at two major storylines and two casts of characters that will eventually intermingle, but who all impact Izzy and her choices.
For this WIP I’m also going to do something I’ve never done before — character sketches and notes. I’ll be honest, I know a lot about Izzy including all her
baggage backstory, but I have no idea what she looks like, which is a little like being at O’Hare Airport (in the days you could wait at the gate for someone) and looking for someone to pick me up, who’s going to take me where I need to go, but whom I’ve never met or seen and is not carrying a sign with my name on it.
It’s hard to find that person in a crowd, you know?
I know that Izzy’s boss, Caprice, looks like Sophia Loren (now, not thirty or forty years ago). I know that Bart, the cook in the diner where Izzy works, looks like Carroll O’Connor with a doo rag. But Izzy? I have no clue! Blonde? Brunette? Redhead? Tall? Short? Blue or brown or green eyes? I need Izzy to be easily identifiable — first to me — and then to readers. It’s exciting really — getting to know Izzy and her friends and family all over again and for the first time.
I’m so glad I came to the party — but now I can’t wait to go home and get to work!
How do you get back into a WIP? Do you know what your characters look like exactly? Do you have pictures? Sketches? Do you make a character scrapbook like Meg Waite Clayton? I just may try!