Saturday, June 22, 2002

Why am I waiting? I'm here. I'm connected. I'm not doing anything else. Why not start before I realize I'm actually starting and that nasty old internal censor starts whispering in my ear.

The thing is, I've been writing. I was beginning to despair that I ever would write again but it finally kicked in a few weeks ago after a wonderful, miraculous phone chat with my editor C. She put into words what I had known deep inside my gut but couldn't bring myself to face. The terrific idea that I loved more than life simply didn't fit the book I was writing. ("You're writing two separate books," Editor C pointed out and the lightbulb [yes, there really is one] clicked on over my head.)

Here are a few things I learned during my struggle:

1. Nobody wants to read a book that begins in a nursing home. NOBODY.

2. Character is everything. If your characters aren't living and breathing and ready to run away from home (yours) and into their own world, you're not ready to begin. The amount of interior prep work that goes into some books is prodigious. I don't care how terrific the plot is; without 3D characters you can love and hate and cry with, you don't have anything at all.

3. My powers of concentration are shot to hell. The little distractions that used to drift right by me unnoticed, are now giant asteroids plummeting toward earth (more specifically, my desk!) at the speed of light. I swear to you, if a ferret sneezes two counties over, I'm done for the day.


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