This past weekend, I had a business trip to St Louis, and something happened that almost never does when I’m traveling: I wrote in the shuttle on the way to the airport. It’s a fairly long slog, about 90 minutes, and often I have a whole bench to myself, but I’m not one of those writers who feels she must work at all times. Nor did I this time—I just…er…wanted to.
When I got to the airport, I had more time to kill and…wait for it….I wrote some more. On the way home, I actually opened my laptop in my crowded seat and wrote another thousand words, which means I wrote nearly five thousand over a weekend in which I wasn’t planning to write at all.
Every book is a lot of hard work, and between that seductive moment of conception and the finished offering there is a wander through the desert.
Anne Stuart used to exuberantly post on a loop we were on together, “it’s alive!” and I’ve always loved the visual. That moment when a book takes its first gasping breaths, and sits up and starts to breathe on its own without me propping it up in a thousand ways. This book has been difficult to get up and breathing. It has gone through a number of incarnations. I just couldn’t see where it needed to go, but the main character wouldn’t leave me alone. Frustrated, I shoved it on a back burner for a year and went off to write other things.
I don’t often do this. Everyone who has written for any length of time knows that the best part of a book is when it first comes to you, dressed in gossamer scarves, as shimmery and magical as fairy godmother. “Write my story,” she says in her sonorous voice. “I will not be any trouble at all, not like that—“ she casts her eyes toward the current book “well, you know. With me, your fingers will fly across the keyboard, and we’ll enchant everyone who reads us, and we shall rise to the top of the lists and sell everywhere in the world and —“ [Read more…]