Friday, December 21, 2007

What to write, what to write???

I've been putting off writing a new book for quite some time now. I've finished the second in the Kitty Bloodworth series but Five Star won't consider contracting that book until they see how the sales numbers go for the first book, FIFTY-SEVEN HEAVEN, which just came out last week. But, boy howdy, am I ready to fire book number two off to them when they are ready to receive.

The next book in my first series, the Metropolis Mystery series, is finished and ready to publish in 2008. Except I've decided not to release it then. I want to spend 2008 promoting FIFTY-SEVEN HEAVEN, so the next Dalton won't come out until 2009, or at least that's the plan for now.

With two books completed in two different series, and pretty much ready to go, I couldn't seem to get into writing a new one. I kept saying I'd start in January. But when I begin a new book, I always have the first scene in my head and I'm IN the scene with the characters. Seeing it. Feeling it. Hearing it. So I kept seeing the beginning scene of the third book in the Kitty Bloodworth series, in my head. It's kind of a fun scene. Still I procrastinated writing it.

Luckily, I'm a huge fan of Holly Lisle and her website. I frequently mention her index card method for plotting when I'm giving a talk about writing. And I belong to an email group she hosts. So when she offered free outline tips for plotting in PDF format, I signed up. The file arrived in my inbox soon after and I dived in, doing the exercises. Sooo, I now have a VERY rough outline for the book and maybe two-three pages written in chapter one. Whew. Now, to write two-three hundred more pages. Piece of cake. Cough.

But back to being in the scene. The second book in the Kitty Bloodworth series takes place in Pigeon Forge, TN, where Kitty and Jack Bloodworth are attending a car show/contest and looking for another antique car to buy . . . this one for Kitty to drive. One of those hulking, beautiful Thirties models, sigh, just the kind of car I dream about.

We've traveled to the Pigeon Forge area several times and I love it there, so writing that book was like being there . . . every single day. I get lost in the setting when I write, and I enjoy standing next to my characters, watching what happens to them, how they react to it, and wondering what they'll do next. And I could see the Smokies with their lovely fall colors, the river streams running over the huge rocks, the vapor sliding over the mountain tops. When I stop writing for the day, it's like waking up from a sound nap. I have to "shake it off" and come back into the present. Even editing, tough as it is, brings me to that "place."

But much as I enjoy it, I always have a tough time getting into writing a new book. It's that old "Can I do this again?" "What if THIS book fails?" "What if no one reads it?" New book jitters. I get them ever time. So does most every other writer I know. But once I settle into the chair and start writing, I'm in that world.

Right now, I'm in Jack Bloodworth's barn where he stores his beautiful '57 Chevy, Sadie, along with her trophies and necessary replacement parts. And I can see that someone is hiding up in the hay loft. Uh oh! Excuse me, my character is in danger. I need to see what will happen. Meanwhile, you all have a wonderful holiday season and thanks so much for hanging out with us at Poe's Deadly Daughters!


Joyce Tremel said...

I'm having the same problem getting started with my book. (My agent has my first two.) I kept trying to come up with that "perfect" first sentence. I finally convinced myself to just write anything--I can fix it later. I managed to squeeze out 8 pages last week.

I love getting "lost" in the story when I'm writing. I still need to train certain family members that I really don't know where they put their socks, keys, etc., when I'm trying to write!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Hehehe, Joyce, I have to agree with you about training the family. "Honey, can you come out to the garage and pump the breaks while I bleed out the air?" is not one of my favorite questions to hear when I'm writing. I much prefer, "Can I fix us both dinner?" but I confess, I don't get that question quite as often.

Thanks for stopping by and best of good luck with your writing. Let us know what happens.

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