The other day I was reading an interesting post on my friend Tamara Drazic’s blog https://tamaradrazic.com/blog/.
She discussed her next book idea while putting aside her recently completed novel. She shared the closeness she felt with her characters as if they were real. It got me thinking about my own characters and the bond we created.
Forming a bond
It’s easy for writers to form a bond with their characters. We spend so much time with them they soon become part of our lives.
I’ll be honest, when I completed my novel the hardest thing to do was say goodbye.
With my first novel Dempsey’s Grill making the rounds of agents it made perfect sense to move on to book number 2. Several ideas came to mind when thinking what I wanted to write.
I had at least three solid ideas that I had considered. What I didn’t expect was the difficulties of moving past the characters I created.
The characters had become old friends. Family to be honest. And turning off that switch was harder than I thought it would be.
Finding the right story
But I knew I had to write again. I couldn’t sit around waiting for an agent to call. And when I made the choice of what I wanted to do next it was a book I had already written.
I came up with the idea while we were vacationing in San Diego a few years back. I kept seeing a little girl, a field of corn and a baseball game.
The story involved some sort of time travel with a man from today’s world accidentally ending up in a time long ago. I wasn’t sure where it was headed or if it would even work but I knew I had to write it.
When we came home from our trip I went to work. I completed the first draft in about a month but right away I could tell something was missing.
Knowing when to stop
I wrote as a pantser from start to finish but I didn’t mind. At least I got it down while it was fresh. Unfortunately the story had one giant flaw: The protagonist was all wrong.
I couldn’t put my finger on it. In fact I couldn’t figure the guy out. He was unmotivated, kind of sad and kind of boring. So I put the book away and forgot about it.
Luckily this was during the time my editor and I were putting the finishing touches on Dempsey’s Grill. We were busy with rewrites, plot holes and so on. Now, fast forward a year later and I am ready to start book two.
What pulled me back was the challenge I faced with fixing the protagonist. I knew the reader had to care and so I did the only thing possible: I started from scratch.
The original protagonist was a nice guy and nothing more. I knew that wasn’t good enough and so I made him bigger than life. A star.
I was watching the Super Bowl when the idea came. American Football is my favorite sport. I began to see him as a retired star searching for the glory days. A dimming spotlight. Somehow through all this he finds a connection with the little girl.
The Spark of ideas
It’s amazing how we come up with ideas. Just like my friend Tamera and the way she came up with hers. We all have our own way of finding a spark that ignites the avalanche of storytelling.
I’ll keep you posted on book number 2. Hopefully it will go as smooth as Dempsey’s Grill. But writing is a mystery with each book that we write a little different than the last.
But that’s okay. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Until next time.
Thanks for stopping by!!!
6 thoughts on “Novel Number Two”
Thank you so much for mentioning me in this post!
It’s so interesting how an image can spark a whole book–a whole world. As you know, I’ve been a pantser in the past and I’m just now trying to figure out this plotter thing. I think the problem is that, for me, I need to write my characters to fully understand them. That’s why every time I start plotting, I feel like the story doesn’t work for me because the plot isn’t driven by who the characters are as people. I guess our processes are flipped!
What’s working for me now is doing a blend of pantsing and plotting. I’ll write a chapter, and at the end of that chapter I’ll come up with ideas for what could happen next. I have a feeling that this is as close to plotting as I’ll be able to get. This is what my next Book 2 diary will be all about.
I love reading about other people’s processes and writing experiences. Thank you so much for sharing this post!
Tamara – You are welcome. Thank you for giving me permission to add a link to your blog.
The process in which a writer approaches a story is as interesting as the story itself. We are constantly trying to perfect our own system and eventually we find a way. For those who never stop they are the ones who succeed. I’t’ll be fun to watch how your new book progresses.
Starting over can be a scary thing, especially in the realm of writing. But instead of giving up, it sounds like you’re finding your way with the words. You’ve got this!
‘You’ve got this!’ – That tiny little sentence made my entire day. Thank you, Dawn. Every now and than a writer needs to hear that. Your words are music to my ears and a great tune at that.
You’ve done one thing most writers never get right: when you have the idea, write like the wind, get the bones of the story down so you have something you can analyze and work with.
Write with your heart. Rewrite with your brain.
Your book intrigues. I’m working on a time travel fantasy right now, one of my favorite subgenres.
Thank you, Joel. I knew I was doing something right. Nice to meet a fellow time traveler. 🙂
So much fun. Thanks for stopping by my good friend.