There’s always a sense of euphoria when we finish a book – deservedly so. You know how many people start a book? You know how many actually finish one?
But then you have to start on the next one. There’s always a next one. And for me, at least, that’s the hardest part of a book – finding the beginning. I thought I’d pretty much figured out the beginning of my next one in my head, but when it came time to actually start writing it, I found out I was waaaay wrong. Wrong start, wrong character, wrong everything (except hero, who had the wrong name).
As I’ve mentioned somewhere lately, I suck at things like GMC, inciting incidents, turning points, etc. But I’m pretty good at closing my eyes and running scenes through my mind. A lot of the scenes never show up in the book, but they help me get a feel for the characters and the story. And I have to say, much as I enjoy brainstorming other people’s books, I don’t like brainstorming my own. It’s not that I don’t want input from other people; it’s just that that’s not the way my mind works.
That’s one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in this business: it’s how my mind works that matters to me. Remember in Beetlejuice when the newly-dead couple asks their counselor, “Is this what death is like?” and she says, “This is what it’s like for you. That is what it’s like for them.” So many writers make the mistake of thinking that if Method A works for them, then that’s the only way. But it’s not. It’s their way. The rest of us have to find our way.
I’ll figure out what’s wrong with the story. I’ve already got a clue: Ty and Nev are both so nice. How could they not fall in love and live happily ever after? They need some angst and fear and more problems than any normal couple should ever face. So I’m giving them issues and rethinking everything else. Give ’em no other way out, Jackie said at our retreat workshop, and that’s what I’m setting up with Nev. And hopefully, in a few months, I’ll have finished this book and will find myself in the same spot again, trying to figure out how the heck to start the next one.