It’s been a busy and exciting time for me. As my faithful readers know, I’ve been working on finishing the latest installment of the Gemini Island Shifters series, Predator’s Fire. This will be book five in the series. It’s now complete and sitting pretty with my publisher, with whom I hope to begin edits soon.
I have another manuscript out for submission, too. This one is a steamy contemporary, set in the Las Vegas casino world. I’m crossing fingers that I’ll hear back about it soon and begin the publishing process.
The temptation, for me, after finishing books is to go back and immediately start wondering how they could be improved. After all, I know they’ll go through a rigorous editing process anyway. However, it’s very important to keep up momentum and continue writing. So, for the moment, I have to shelve these two submissions, forget about them, pray they’ll be accepted, and start a new book. No sense torturing myself, wondering what those publishers will think until I actually from them, right?
I’m moving onto something completely different this time, another contemporary. This story has been tormenting me for some time and I knew I had to write it. It’s lighter than the contemporary I just completed and miles away from Gemini Island. So what do I do first?
I always like to establish my main characters and major conflict before I do anything else. I find the two people on earth who shouldn’t be together, and find a way to throw them at each other. I begin to sketch out their histories, filling in little details like past loves, education, favorite foods, best friends, etc. I give them jobs and beliefs, quirks and failings.
Then I come up with secondary conflicts, the ones that don’t necessarily drive the action, but which color it. The ones that provide a context for my characters’ reactions. These conflicts could involve family issues, problems at work, or former lovers coming back to haunt them.
I begin to plot. As I do, I always ask myself, “What needs to happen to get them to their happy ending?” How can I pour on more layers of conflict and how do I resolve them? Once I have a few major plot points established in an outline, I begin. For me, one of the hardest things to accomplish is to avoid constant self-editing as I write. I love nothing more than going back and rehashing every small word. However, as much as possible, I attempt to write, write, write until I have several thousand words.
Only then, do I allow myself the luxury of reviewing a bit, and even then, I try to keep it simple. At this point, I’m looking more for timeline discrepancies and plot holes, rather than grammar and spelling. I review my outline. Does it still make sense? Do I need to alter any events based on what I wrote? Is my couple still headed toward their inevitable happy ending, or have I written them into a hole of despair? It’s important to review all these things periodically.
There’s nothing more awe-inspiring than attacking that blank piece of paper at the start of a new book, but it can also be very intimidating. It’s quite easy to start doubting, even at the start. Not sure your story will work? Well, you won’t know until you get it down. All the experienced authors will tell you to write, even if you’re not sure what you’re writing. You can always go back and fix it later. However, until that first word, that first chapter gets written, nothing else will follow.
And so, my blank page awaits. My characters are waiting to fall in love. I might even have a villain or two in the wings, eager to throw a wrench in their plans.
My new book must begin now.