Thursday, September 13, 2007

I *Was* Stuck in a Rut

There seem to be two main enemies that writers face: Writer’s Block and Motivation. I have never had a problem with the former. In fact, I have so many ideas running around in my head that I know I could make some of them into coherent stories with little trouble. I struggle with the latter more often than not. And it’s never one of “What should I write” because, like I just mentioned, I *know* what I want to write about. It’s usually the *how*.

I am writing my second novel, a Crime Story set here in Houston. On paper, I started working on it in early fall 2006. In fact, over the 2007 Labor Day weekend, as my family and I did our new tradition of going to Camp Allen, I read my journal entry from 2006. I then noted that I had made a breakthrough on the new story. And the story is still not finished. I am on my fourth attempt at getting these character to act and talk. I know, flat-out, what this story is about. It’s how to tell it and whom should tell it.

Where I am now (female detective is the lead POV) is the best way of telling this story. Once I made that realization, the entire book fell into place. What I next struggled with is style. Elmore Leonard once commented that he developed his unique style only after writing a million words. I look at my first draft of my first novel (114,000 words) and realize I have about 10 more books to write until I reach that mark. So, I better get moving, hadn’t I?

I also decided to make this new story a multiple-POV story. You see, I have my female detective, an ex-con trying to make a life for himself out of the slammer, and an evacuee (among other) who are trying to cope with the loss of their city (NOLA) while living in a new city (Houston). I mean, some of the scenes just write themselves. But I fret over my style. Is it edgy enough? Does it flow right? Does it feel right? Is the reader going to care about these people? I am the first reader and, well, I care for them. And its my job to make the other readers care, too. That’s where I am on that.

Then, just this past Sunday, the theme of that morning’s sermon awoke my original inclination on how I saw this story, that is, the ex-con as the lead POV character and his struggle to stay out of jail and out of police stations. And the sermon quoted Micah 6:8 (change the translation selection to get different takes on the words). I mean, is that not a life’s mission statement in a few simple words? The end result? I started writing the ex-con’s ‘origin story’…and I’m up to chapter 3 already.

Originally, the crime story was the ex-con’s origin story but that did not feel right. Now, it’s after his ‘origin.’ But the new story I just started? That’s the new origin story.

So, I am now writing *two* novels. Granted, as one takes off, I’m likely to let the other one slip. But the Origin Story I’m writing long-hand and the Crime Story I’m writing straight on the Mac. Helps keep them straight.

That’s the update…