This week, while writing down the nuggets for book four, I realized I wanted to keep track of how the year progresses as I go from that nugget to polished book ready for my editor. Hence, the fancy logo-graphicy thing that is meant to entice me to write what’s been going on in the week, and then entice YOU to read it and tell me about YOUR week!
Here’s where the optimist in me comes out, as I don’t have a contract for book four, although I’ll write it as if I do, until I do. The reason I’m thinking about book four, is because—cue the trumpets—I turned in book three, currently titled Left To Chance! Here’s the “high concept” elevator pitch that’s a result of one of the lessons from the Don Maass Workshop I recently participated in through WFWA. (I am a Don Maass groupie, as well as a workshop junkie, even now. Just ask my critique partner, she’ll tell you–as she rolls her eyes.)
Six years after running out on her lifelong best friend’s funeral, Teddi Lerner returns to her hometown to reconcile with the people, places, and memories she abandoned, including her best friend’s twelve-year-old daughter, who teaches Teddi to face her grief head-on, and to open her heart.
I’m really proud of the book, with which I tried new things and stretched my writing muscles, which only makes me want to do that even more so with book four.
What makes me even more excited about book four is that it’ll be my second project with Browne & Miller Literary Associates and since they’re based in Chicago, we are able to get together somewhat regularly. We strategize, we brainstorm, we drink champagne, and eat sushi. Most of all we figure out what’s next for me and how to get there.
But I didn’t go to this meeting empty handed. I brought my notebooks. You know, the ones where I’ve been hoarding ideas for future books, character names, settings, news stories that sparked my interest and imagination. Those notebooks combined with the realization that my best stories bubble up from inside and are important to me. I think (but don’t know for sure, you tell me) that some authors write great stories about ideas or people who interest them and inspire them. While writing Left To Chance, I realized that the basis for a story of mine has to be something that means a lot to me fundamentally. The characters and plot are all part of that, and not everything or everyone in a book is deeply personal, not at all. That would be exhausting. That would not be fun for me. I love writing fiction for the MAKING SHIT UP part of it, for the whimsical parts, for the parts that float down and let me grab them and stick them in the story.
I’ve spent a good amount of time this week with names. Sometimes they just arrive, as did the name of the main character for Left To Chance, Teddi Lerner. She appeared fully formed, name and story in tact, as did her best friend, Celia. All the other names in the book have been tweaked and changed until they were right. But this time the names have not accompanied the main characters, although I have lists, which thanks to the internet are easy to compile. This time I’m set on the names of a few secondary characters, but they’re not main characters at all, nor are they trying to insist upon it. I think as I write, the few names that appeal to me will whittle down until there is no option except the one that’s left behind—therefore rocketing to the forefront.
Right now my new main character is a mid-thirties woman (new territory for me). The name Hannah keeps pushing forward, but I feel like it’s overused, so I push back. I write a line or two with another name, and then another. Who’s in charge here anyway? Time will tell.
This week when I wasn’t writing, I was (and will be again today) finishing up some freelance editing projects both for my own editing extravaganza (the link is below) and for writers I edit through other companies. I also finished reading a marvelous book for a blurb, it’ll be out in September, and I’ll tell you more about it then. Just know, you’ll be in for a treat.
As I head into the upcoming week, I’m going to devote some time to research for book four, as I’m testing the waters for a very small historical component, and then I’ll spend about thirty minutes a day just writing to see what happens with Hannah or Whoever She Is. I’ll keep you posted!
In my non-writing life I spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about SNOW, and Power Puff Girling myself. My daughter was a huge fan of the show when she was little, and this was a good mix of nostalgia and amusement for her (and me) when I sent her multiple versions of me as a Power Puff Girl. Of course, she returned the favor! Hmm, who’s who?
Have a great week!