I’m also about to begin my fourth year of teaching two family history courses. It’s a little like writing books – the same but different every time. One of the things that I teach is about migration trails and patterns, which are also not unlike the patterns that go into writing books.
I finished a contract when I turned in my last book a week ago (did you hear me screaming for joy? Thought so). And so after I do revisions and whatever I need to in order to bring that book up to snuff (I have no doubt it will need it. That’s another of the patterns of writing. It’s rare to nail it the first time. I’ve done it, but not so often that I dare to assume it will happen. And this time in particular I’m sure it won’t.
But, that said, my head is moving on to think about WHAT NEXT? For a long time it didn’t seem like anything was going to be NEXT because I was always going to be writing Lukas and Holly’s book. They thought so, too. Believe me. But now that they have their happy ending, I’m contemplating a new destination.
The destination is only a part of the trip, though. That’s when I write “The end.” It takes a long time to get there (unless you are notably fast writer, which I’m notably NOT). So it’s the journey that’s important. Not just ‘where do I want to go?” But who do I want to spend my time with for the next few (she said hopefully) months? And what will their conflict be?
I like conflict. I don’t like daily angst. It’s hard enough to make myself show up at the keyboard every morning without knowing I’ve got to be in emotional knots as well day after day. It may take readers only a few hours to endure the tension, but I have to be there every day while my characters are trying to make sense of their lives. So if they are going to angst, I want them to have a sense of humor about it. Or something.
So I’ve been playing around with ideas. Trying to invite these people lurking in the back of my mind out into the light. Trying to find out who they are, where they came from. I’d be grateful if they’d at least tell me their names!
Next to writing, “The end” this is the fun bit – when all the possibilities are in front of me, when they seem promising, entertaining. Enjoyable, even. (It’s a little like childbirth, I think. You tend to forget the pain – and the sleeplessness of the first few months. Or years in the case of my sleepless children).
So stay tuned. I’m getting out my maps and my books. Maybe we can make this journey together. If you have suggestions about where we ought to go next, let me know!
light bulb: By Tito Dutta (File:Cuerpo humano jaqaru.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons