Wednesday, April 8, 2020

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program

During these challenging times, authors everywhere are talking about how difficult it is to write. One of my buddies even commented that we couldn't write a realistic contemporary book without including the current lock-in environment. True, but we do write fiction, so we get to make the rules. We get to set the "perfect world" scenarios. We also get to include the reality that could make for apocalyptic reading.

I've been trying to move forward with Hillendale #3, and even with a reasonable facsimile of an outline, I've been struggling to move ahead. So many distractions to deal with, both personal and global. And then something fun jumped out at me.

The Hillendales have been fun to write from the standpoint of they are a different tack for me, away from my usual romance or romantic suspense. I MISS my happily ever afters, and I've been itching to write one, but I feel compelled to finish my trilogy of witchy books.

And then a news story jumped out at me. In fact, a couple of them. New sources of inspiration in these times where we're locked inside. In fact, it made me stop to consider switching gears to write the new idea instead of Hillendale 3. Or write them simultaneously. Or, or, or...

I did some additional research on the new idea and realized the article was the full extent of what I needed to know. Then I wrote down my thoughts on how to spin it into a story. And then I stopped to consider my course of action. I floated the idea by a friend who said:
"You could be like Robert B. Parker. He'd work on a Spenser in the morning and a different series book after lunch. Or Asimov, who had a bunch of typewriters and when he got stuck on one story, he'd move to a different typewriter and work on that one."
We also talked about getting confused between one story and another, keeping storylines straight. Considering these are two completely different stories, I don't think I'd have that problem, and yet I tend to be pretty singularly focused. While my day job required the ability to multi-task (and I was able to do that pretty well), there comes a point in the process where you have to focus on one thing at a time. (Which, as you are following my random train of thought, you'll see I've made my point both for and against.)

In the end, I prefer to immerse myself in one world at a time when I'm writing. I walk the streets, get to know the characters, face their challenges alongside them. The analogy here is that if I start a second story, I'd be like those radio personalities who shuttle across the country to do one show in L.A. and another in New York. That just sounds exhausting.

So here I sit, committed to finishing Hillendale 3 (unless my editor comes back and tells me she's bored to tears with Hillendale 2), but I've also made some story notes to get started on "the next one." Because that guy's story NEEDS to be told.

How are you all doing with the lock-in? I've been trying to Facetime or Skype with the people closest to me. What a great invention, huh? The next best thing to being there, and yet I miss being able to hug them. We'll get through this! #InThisTogether.


  1. Being isolated hasn't changed much for me. In fact, when we were having a virtual get-together with the kids (who don't live THAT far away) we commented that we might actually be seeing more of each other than when we could visit in person. Not to belittle the reason for the isolation, which is real and ... don't get me started ... Other than getting sick or dying, staying at home when there's electricity, water, and the internet isn't so bad for an introvert like me.

    1. Ditto on the introvert thing, and we will be doing a video char for Easter, but I do miss being able to hug my little ones!