Most every writer has a certain ‘way’ of doing things. They either plot or they don’t (I don’t). They edit as they go or they don’t (I do) and they get words onto the page quickly or they struggle with every word (I do both).
Anyone who reads my books knows it takes me forever and a day to release one. The main reason for that is I’m a bit neurotic. Everything ‘has’ to be perfect. Well, as perfect as I can get it. I also have a serious case of separation anxiety when I near the end of a story. A Willow Creek Christmas could have been finished two months before it was IF I had only stopped stressing over it and just let my characters go.
It sounds crazy to some but when I spend months, sometimes up to a year, with certain characters inside my head, they become ‘real’ to me. They’re real people who live in an imaginary land I can only reach inside the pages of a book and just like real-life relationships, its hard saying good-bye to people you love. My reluctance to say good-bye is why the Willow Creek books always feature as many of the characters from previous books that I can squeeze in. I want to know how they’re doing. I want to SEE their Happily Ever After. And most of the time, I do. And seeing them again is what makes moving on so difficult.
Starting a new story is like walking into a new job. You know no one. You have no idea what the ‘routine’ is, if the people you’ll be surrounded by are nice or ill tempered so it takes days, sometimes weeks, to become comfortable with your new surroundings. The same goes for a new story.
Willow Creek book 7 has been started but like most new books, it’s a very slow start. I still don’t have a good ‘feel’ for the characters. I’m sure there are authors out there who know exactly who their characters are before they even sit down but it takes me longer to flesh them out. I put them on the page and have to watch closely to see what they do. How they react to situations and find out if they’re snarky or serious about everything, and until I figure that out, the first chapter is written and rewritten a dozen times. Which…is the case with ‘this’ story.
I’m on my third re-write of chapter one and that old habit I mentioned in the post title? Well, this time, I was determined to ‘try’ writing this book differently. There’s tons of articles out there on how to write faster and I ran across one that said to…just write. To get it on paper and pretty it up later and I tried. Man, did I try! LOL But its JUST not happening! I can not get on with the story when I KNOW there are glaring holes in chapter one. Until its PERFECT…I’ll be hanging out on the Montana prairie with Evan and Phoebe, my hero and heroine of the new book. I have a title for the book but I’m going to keep that under wraps for a bit longer. In the meantime, my vision of Phoebe and Evan, and other story inspiration photos can be found over on the books new Pinterest page. “Follow” it so you’ll get all the newest pins when I add them.