Some writers wax rhapsodic about their absolute undying forever-and-ever love for writing. Some have a real love-hate relationship going with it. Some are a bit more balanced about it. I think I’m a bipolar writer. Some days it’s the best most wonderful way in the world to spend time (and to get paid for it — hallelujah, ain’t life grand?!).
Other days I’d sooner break my own wrist than sit at the computer and try to create something. (And, yeah, been there, done that . . . though not on purpose. Honest.)
The past few months, I’ve been in a place where I haven’t hated writing. I’ve hated the process. I was starting a new book. I knew my characters and had a pretty good idea of how to get from “once upon a time” to “happily ever after.” I wrote a first chapter that I really liked. Great meet, witty conversation, sexual tension — it had it all.
Except suspense. No one reading that chapter would have guessed that it was a prelude to suspense, danger, love on the run. Forget the suspense, it was a straight romance. Which is a problem since the book was aimed at Silhouette Romantic Suspense.
So I revised it. Threw a hint of danger and an actual attack in it. Hated it. Couldn’t write one more scene beyond the end of Chapter 1.
So I revised it again. More danger, guns, bad guys in the street. Didn’t hate it, but . . . meh. Didn’t want to write an entire book of meh.
Revised again. And again. Got a great chapter where, in the very first line, the heroine is in danger, running for her life, fearful that her sister’s been kidnapped by the same armed men who are chasing her, is desperately afraid until the hero steps in to rescue her . . . for the moment. Great suspense, great action . . . not my characters or my story.
I was down so far that I’d have to look up to see the grass. I grumbled and whined and cursed a few people who influenced my career in the past, and then, because I couldn’t face those characters or their suspense again, I pulled out a chapter from a book I started a while back and reread it. And loved it. It’s got great characters, witty conversation, sexual tension and more. The only suspense in the book is “when will they . . .?” or “how will they . . .?” and I’m loving it. In one afternoon, I went from a vague outline to a fully-fleshed-out one for about 75% of the book and made detailed notes on story arcs that will carry into the next one.
Writing — when it’s going well, when you’re telling your story with your characters — can be an incredible thing. When it’s not going well, when the words won’t come, when outside forces are trying to push you a certain way, can be beyond miserable. Thank God, it’s never always bad, but it’s never always good, either. Up or down, heaven or hell, manic or depressed.
I’m a bipolar writer.