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Monday, April 28, 2014

A New First

Over eight years have passed since I got serious about writing my first novel. It all started when my friends Angela, Kim, and I decided to form a little writers group--which lasted about three months--but that's when I pulled out my old notes for a novel called These Three Remain and turned an idea into a book. For the next five years, I would rewrite that novel several times until it became the published work with the new title Dance of the Dandelion.

As of now, I've written five complete novels. Three are in print. I've also won awards, become an editor, blogged, and had the pleasure of teaching at writers conferences.

But today, I find myself facing a new scary first. A first I've been putting off for several weeks, and so I'm sharing it with you today as a means of accountability. (This is where I take a deep breath) Today, I must start a novel for which the synopsis has already been submitted.

Now if you're not a writer, or if you are a writer who is a plotter, that must seem very anti-climactic. Here's what you have to understand. For every other novel I've written, it has started with this idea bursting in my head. With these characters just clamoring to get out. And at least a few chapters have poured onto the page in random order with the giddy energy of a honeymoon. Of course later I have to work through the tangles of plot twists and proper motivations. But that initial writing spurt is nothing short of intoxicating. And the initial powerful surge provides me with a strong desire to see the book through to completion.

Today I face a white sheet of paper and attempt to write a story that has already been planned. No initial heady rush of meeting new characters and discovering a new world. No excited anticipation of where this journey might take me. I'm already aware of the tough challenges I will face to make the characters motivations believable and scenes that will be tricky to write. And while thankfully I do know the hero from the previous book, I've written an entire story outline for a heroine who has yet to even come alive in my head.

I guess this is part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult writer. Today I am determined to do it. But I've also determined to figure out how to find that joy of discovery. To let the new heroine become a real person in my mind, and to follow the twists and turns of the journey, even if it takes me in a different direction than I expected.

With or without the giddy rush, I will write today! And I guess that's what being a professional writer is all about.

Any tips as I face this new challenge????


  1. I had much the same feeling when I started Whispers from the Shadows. But what kinda helped for me was the giddy rush of knowing someone already WANTED this book. It took away a bit of the uncertainty. But I also still had to embrace that idea that, even if I was locked in in some ways, the story was still free to come alive as it needed to. The characters still had to be original. I still had to be creative. It's a whole new challenge, learning how to discover within a construct. A fun one. =) Yay for your series!

  2. That is so true, Roseanna!!! It is a wonderful feeling to know for sure that this book will be published and that I'm not just taking a risk with it. The good news is that I wrote 3300 words yesterday. I will definitely keep your tips in mind.