Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Heal Thyself" at 79K

It took me nearly 3 weeks, but I'm finally through one of the pivotal sections of this novel. What's amazing is how long it took compared with the amount of elapsed time of the events: about an hour. It was vital that these connected scenes worked. This is what sets up the end of the story. Now that I'm here, it seems as if I've always planned the story out this way. The truth of the matter is I struggled picking my way through the middle of this plot.

I'm not a 'pantser' kind of writer. I need roadmaps, outlines, a clear overview of the story. Yet I'm also not a thorough outliner. Rather, my novels emerge through the eyes of a character and his or her conflict. Then the world takes shape about the character. As the world coalesces, so do plot events. That is the sketch of my outline.

However, the outline can only take me so far. As I write, my characters develop and my understanding of them deepens. That's the point at which my outline constricts, rather than serves the narrative. That's when I'm writing off the edge of the map. But having no clear line to follow terrifies me and I have learned that I need to brainstorm and interview my characters in order to find their just right courses of action.

So my writing process probably looks like a series of starts and stops. I outline. I write. I fret. I pick my way through promising trails, only to find dead ends. I outline again. Rinse and repeat.

Now I've gotten my characters primed for the climax of the story. I always find that a thrilling point in the writing process. I'm eager to follow Lilliane and Zev's story to its finish.

What's next? That's a good question. I have two strong ideas: one an urban fantasy that explores the interconnection of the world's mythologies through a series of zuni fetishes my MC finds in a garage sale. The other a YA urban fantasy about a summer camp for underprivileged kids run by emotional vampires. Where I go from here may depend, in part, on whether or not I get representation for "The House of Many Doors."

In the meanwhile, happy writing.


  1. Wow, you've been busy.

    You could always work on two projects at the same time. I'd have a hard time chosing one--they both sound great.

  2. Thanks, January. I'm hoping to dive into a new project this spring. I'll see what calls to me.

    Happy writing! And I'm so pleased about your poetry book.