Birth of a book

I was thinking this morning that it might be kind of fun (for me anyway…not sure about you all) to write about the process of birthing a book. It won’t be every day, and it won’t be with too many details, as I’m kind of superstitious about telling anyone but my closest friends and agent what my new books are about. But, I’ll kind of give you a step by step process of what I do to put a book together.

Warning: This will not all be riveting stuff. Writing is fun and creative and thrilling sometimes…but other times it is boring, annoying, and frustrating. That’s why so many writers are head cases.

So, to catch up, here’s what I’ve done on the new book so far.

Day 1: Agent tells me I need to come up with a new concept to shop as, um, there are delays elsewhere in my publishing career. I have no new ideas…time to panic.

Day 2: Decide on an idea. A very loose and not well thought-out idea. I really like it, but it will take some thought.

Day 3: Share the very loose idea with a friend who questions one of the key premises of the story. Dammit.

Days 4 to 8: Panic that I will never be able to flesh out this idea. I’m doomed. No new sales for me in the foreseeable future. Dammit.

Day 9: Suddenly realize that ideas are changeable. Why didn’t I think of that?? Oh. I did. But only after several days of panic. Change idea accordingly, then have the rest of the book idea just blossom while driving home in the rain in the dark. Spend time at home jotting down a few of the more important points of the idea so as not to forget them.

Day 10: Now that the idea is there, I begin looking through any writing-related articles I have in order to decide how I’m going to plot this book. I have to plot, that’s a given. But, I swear that I plot each book different than the last. Read some great articles about sexual tension and take a few notes. Smile a lot at the ideas that spark off that.

Day 11 (yesterday): Start a notebook of “snippets.” Any time I think of a snippet of anything that might be used in the book, I jot it down. It might be an idea for a scene, a line of dialogue, a phrase that describes a character, etc. This is one of my favorite parts of the process. This is when I begin to know that characters. It doesn’t matter that this isn’t in any particular order. When I have a bunch of snippets, I start to put them in the order I think they will fall in the book. This helps me develop scenes, chapters, etc. I try to think of ways to show the characterization, scenes that will keep the pace flowing, dialogue that will make the readers laugh.

Also on this day, spent some time writing the blurb. I have to say I’m very pleased with it. I get the thumbs-up from my writing friends (and I just sent it to my agent, so if she answers me before this entry is done, I’ll tell you what she says). Next up…the synopsis. I’ll save this for another day.

Merry Merry, my friends!!

Shannon