Every few months I rediscover two things about writing: the hair-pulling, what-the-heck-am-I-doing?, this-is-never-going-to-work and, eventually, thank you, God, the euphoria. I love it when a plan comes together! (Anyone remember what TV show that line is from?)
This most recent time the hair-pulling came on the fourth book of the Tallgrass story. To sell the book, I have to submit a partial — a chapter and an outline — to my publisher, so I started, as I always do, with the chapter. Lucy, Joe, and Ben were cooperating, but there just wasn’t any chemistry, no spark or wit or anything that would make the reader read on.
Let me say, I am notoriously wary of first chapters. There is the occasion where the chapter just flows from the first sentence, but that’s even rarer than me turning down chocolate. Usually it’s a struggle. One time, when I was young and foolish, I kept track of how many times I began the first chapter of Somebody’s Baby. The total count was in the 30s, though thankfully I’ve forgotten exactly. There’s usually at least five false starts per book, ranging anywhere from a few paragraphs to twenty or more pages. Each.
So, anyhoo, I was plodding along on Lucy’s first chapter, my word count dwindling every day. I finally pushed away from the computer, well aware that the shrinking wordage meant I didn’t have the right beginning.
That night, while getting ready for bed, an idea came to me. I let it cure while I slept. (Most people let their ideas percolate. I’m not a coffee-drinker, but I do know enough about curing cement to get myself ankle-deep in trouble.)
The next morning I went to the computer and wrote 2500 words in 2 1/2 hours.
That was the euphoria. That’s why I write.
God, I love this job!
(Anyone know what movie that line is from?)