Friday, December 17, 2010

Circling the end

I spent today writing two chapters on the novel. One was started a few weeks ago and I was glad to finish it. The other was more difficult as I knew what had to happen in it for the plot and the characters' development but I didn't know what the content was. I had to uncover the rest of Al's past with his dead wife, and I couldn't get the muse to show up easily.

Often I write quickly, the ideas flowing. Today it was fits and starts. And some of it meant sitting at the keyboard, staring at the screen, and just waiting. A couple of times I told myself to put down something, anything, and I could change it later. And I felt okay with that. But another part of me said to wait, just be patient, and an idea would come. And it did.

In the end, the chapter didn't turn out as I thought it might. It wasn't in real time, there wasn't a detailed sex scene, and I struggled to keep Ellie's point of view. So it wasn't the smooth sailing that I might have hoped for. But the story that came to me was so intriguing and gives me some good leads for earlier bits of the story that I'm really pleased.

I've got about 5 more chapters to write in this first draft. I'm very excited.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writing on the treadmill

When the November beach writing retreat was over, I knew I was coming to the end of my book. I have maybe 4, 5, or 6 chapters left to write. The killer is on the move, the detective is on the move, the victim is lulled into feeling safe. But I still felt uncertain about what would happen, what the final events would look like and, believe it or not, who is actually the killer. I know something about the killer. I know he's male and younger than the main characters but who he is and how it fits into the picture has remained a mystery even to me, the all-knowing author.

I haven't been concerned about any of this not knowing. My characters in tandem with my imagination have been guiding me all year in the creation of this novel and I have no doubt that they will do so up until the end and even into the revisions. I just have to wait and be open.

Last Wednesday on the treadmill, I was listening to a random mix of music, from Nickelback to the Carpenters, from Marc Cohn to Rick Astley, and suddenly, at about 15 minutes in, I could see the showdown scene in my mind. I hadn't been thinking directly about the book; I hadn't tried to figure anything out or ask myself any questions. It just showed up.

I'm not much closer to knowing who the killer is but I know how he'll get there and what he'll do when he does. That's a major breakthrough. Looking forward to the next writing Friday and getting some of this on paper.