Well, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. today in the throes of mapping out my new novel. I'm not sure why I go into these almost manic phases of creativity, but I do. And it seems to be effective.
A few days ago, I had a very general idea for my next book--a spark of an idea if you will. It's a return to the theological thriller genre of my first book. But a general idea does not a completed manuscript make! So I put on the mp3 player (music is essential to my creativity process), cranked up the tunes and thought the story through. And through. And through. Ad nauseum.
It started coming to me in large chunks yesterday while working out at the gym. And it kept coming off and on throughout a fairly eventful day (our 12-year-son broke his foot at a snowball fight. Go figure).
For some reason, this is how I create. The idea comes to me in the form of a daydream and I spend the next few days feverishly taking notes from my own thoughts and committing them to paper so I don't forget them. Of course, the story continues to change and grow right up until I type "The End." And sometimes, even beyond that.
At 2:20 this morning, the ending finally came to me in a thick haze of cigar smoke with REM pounding in my ears. And what an ending! Man, I love it.
So I wrote it all down in my pretentious little Moleskine notebook. (Hemingway used one, you know!)
The book idea is big, deep, sexy, scary and damned exciting. It's going to take every ounce of any talent I might possess to pull off. But damn, I'm looking forward to trying.
I am a "seat-of-the-pantser" when it comes to writing, meaning I don't really work from a formal outline. Sure, I do several outlines, but when I write, the story just goes off to where it's going and I seem to have very little control over it. Sounds weird, I know. But my characters seem to think for themselves once I start writing.
I suspect that, when it comes to fiction writing, that's a good thing. (Or it means I'm truly insane.)
I'm going to continue laying the groundwork this week and hope to start writing in earnest next week (although I admit I do have the first few paragraphs already done).
While I'm not ready yet to disclose exactly what the book is about (ooohhhh, a secret), I will keep you updated on my progress. Of course, I have a month's worth of editing and revision on my completed novel coming up soon, so that will untrack me a bit.
Happy New Year!
UPDATE: Crap. I'm so wiped out today that I forgot to wish my 12-year-old son, Brennan, a Happy Birthday! The poor kid broke his foot yesterday and is spending his birthday creeping around on the smallest pair of crutches you've ever seen! They are so cute. ;)
Oh, and he can't wait for school to resume on Monday so he can tell his friends all about his horrid injury. He might even tell a girl or two ...
Anyway, happy birthday Buddy. I love you. Dad.