So I maybe, possibly, perhaps have my next book in mind.
Like many projects that eventually find their way out of the logjam that is my imagination, it is a mash-up of a bunch of other concepts and ideas I’ve tinkered with over time. The other day, a few of those crashed up against one another the way random electrons do when circling an atom and this time the resulting brand new element caught my attention.
So I wrote a first chapter. Then I wrote a second chapter. Then I went in and outlined the entire story. Then I went back and erased the first two chapters and started over. Then I wrote the first chapter. Again. Then I sat back and smiled.
This just might work.
The thing about my particular writing process is that it tends to be plot-based. I will generally start with the concept. Something like “What if there was this big, natural disaster that turned all the walleye against humanity?” Then I carve out a series of events. First, we show the disaster that turns the walleye against us. Then they start their war. Some people die. Mankind finally understands the nature of the threat and fights back. More people die. Then… cool stuff happens and we get to the end. Or something like that.
Then I need to go back into it and find out who the characters are. Maybe the hero is a waste disposal expert who takes an interest in the walleye. Maybe one of the walleye is actually the hero. It could go either way. When you think about it, a concept like this pretty much writes itself, right?
So back to my possible third book. I like it. It feels right. The story is there. And more importantly, the options for multiple stories is there so that when it becomes a huge hit I can keep churning them out. The problem for me was that it wasn’t writing itself. It was slow going. I knew what I wanted to happen. I knew who I wanted the events to happen to. I knew where I wanted them to go. But the execution–putting the words down on the screen that will take us on the journey–was excruciatingly slow, like I was churning molasses or something.
I didn’t know what the problem was, and I wasn’t about to give up. So I’d braced myself for a fight and was ready to hunker down when it struck me.
It wasn’t silly enough.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the plot or the characters, I forget to bring my special brand of silliness to the table. Without it, the book may as well have been written by somebody else. That was why it wasn’t flying out of my fingers at light speed, it was just another cool story. So I went back to that first chapter and upped the silly.
And the story started singing.
No guarantee that this will ultimately catch fire and I’ve found that elusive third book, but suddenly it reads like it was written by me. And that’s a good thing.
Because I wrote it. Am writing it. Will be writing it.