Musings on this Writing Life
Got an interesting review of my latest book the other day. The reviewer (who liked the book) said that when she began reading it, she assumed it was going to be a 'typical' romance: Beautiful woman with sweet dog has cute meet with gorgeous guy, yadda yadda yadda. Nevertheless, she said, the book was saved by the introduction of a second, wholly unexpected second storyline that "…perfectly tosses the predictability aside, which makes this entire book a lot more fun to read."
The ironic thing is, that second storyline was never in my mind when I began the book. Instead, it began as a desperate ploy to fill out the word count. I'd gotten about halfway through the outline when I realized that the entire manuscript was going to end up being around 35-40k words—a bit more than half of what I'd contracted for. I knew I'd have to find some way to fill out the rest of the book without simply repeating the sort of incidents that were already there. So …
I went back through the beginning chapters to see if there was a character or incident that I could develop into an interesting counterpoint to the main thread. In this case—thank goodness—it worked.
Lesson learned: Sometimes a 'problem' is your best friend.
In my experience, these are the predictable-but-no-fun stages of writing a book:
1. This is going to be great! If I didn't have to sleep so much, I'd have it done in a week.
2. There's a problem here that I'll have to fix. But first, a snack!
3. The problem is worse than I thought. Maybe I should just give them their money back.
4. I hate this book. Why did I ever agree to write it?
5. Oh, lord. The deadline's almost here. Time to knuckle down!
6. There, it's done. <sigh> What am I doing with my life?