Thursday, May 26, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 60


Happy over-the-hump-Thursday.

All right, I'll get this out of my system. Cari might have won (or however you spell her name), but watching Bo sing Sweet Home Alabama with his fav band was waay cool. Can't wait to buy that guy's CD. Rockers rock!

Now perhaps on Tues. and Wed. nights I shall write, haha.

Okay. Back to the blog thing.

C.J. commented yesterday about writers who talk about “thirty books in their heads just waiting to be written.”

Bah-humbug.

I feel about such writers the same way I feel about women who waltz through pregnancy, never sick a day in their lives, and the baby pops out after two pushes. I want to strangle them.

As for Becky’s comment . . . I wrote two pages yesterday, okay? How’s that, Miss Rebel BG? That makes five whole pages so far this week. When I should have written 18, but hey, who’s counting?

By the way, a couple days ago registration opened for the ACFW conference. Who’s going? Hope all of you can make it. I’m thinkin’ if enough of you writers out there show up, we should have ourselves a secret Forensics and Faith BG sign. You know, some gesture you could make across the room to a fellow BG. Or to me, to let me know you take the time to read my blog. That way I’ll know to scrape the floor in front of you, saying, “thank you, thank you” for not leaving me hanging all alone in cyberspace.

So, where were we in our NES? Oh, yes, I was stranded without a plot. Sort of like I am now.

Back to last fall of 2004, traipsing around on the Bill, Bell and the Babes author tour. Weekend one with marketing Sue, who asked, “You got a title yet?”

Nope.

Weekend two—“gotta title yet?”

“Huh-uh.”

Weekend three—you guessed it.

Here’s the thing about my book titles. I pride myself on them. Yup, I’ll admit it. (I’m needing some uplifting at the moment anyhow.) My titles aren’t just tacked on. They are always carefully created. They must work rhythmically, be intriguing, and refer both to the main plot and the underlying spiritual thread. Lots of “musts” there. Hard to get it just right. And--this is why asking me to name a title when I didn’t have a story was totally foreign to me.

When I got back home after the final weekend of the tour, I had a serious talk with God. Told Him if He didn’t want to give me a plot just yet—to stretch my faith and all that—I really did need a title at least. Then He and I would have to work backwards—weaving a story around the title.

Let’s see. Brink of Death, Stain of Guilt, Dead of Night, and . . . I needed another “Hm of Hm” title. Each “hm” a one-syllable word. Had to be punchy, scary-oriented. So I started writing a list of possibilities. Out of Time . . . On the Edge . . . Nick of Time . . . Stroke of Fate . . . whatever came to mind.

Next I wrote the ACFW loop, seeking input. I listed some of my ideas, asking for the loopers to pick a favorite. I also asked for further ideas, but their titles had to follow the “Hm of Hm” format, as well as sound sinister.

I’ll tell ya, those wonderful ACFWers listened about as well as BG Becky. They sent back scores of ideas, all right—with two- and even three-syllable words. Oh, well, gotta love ’em for trying to help me out.

All along, the title Web of Lies stood out to me best. And most of the respondents who chose among my titles also liked this one. I was praying through this whole process, asking God to bring the right one to the top. After all the input, this one still seemed right. Web of Lies it was.

I happily e-mailed Sue with my answer. Also told her—"don’t ask me nothin' more about the book, ’cause I ain't gotta clue yet."

Now for the plot.

Let’s see. I had Chelsea with her visions . . . Annie with her forensic art . . . something about a discovered skull . . . and the title. Hoo-ah.

In the back of my mind two things were cooking. First, something that had happened at the ACFW conference—a moment that really got my heart. Second, the word “web.” It could be used figuratively, as it often is.

Or it could be used literally . . .

Tomorrow—the unabashed, behind-the-scenes recounting of my scientific and highly inventive approach to creating this story.

Not.

--------------------
Read Part 61

10 comments:

Cindy Q said...

So glad to know your sharing Chelsea with your readers again! I have missed her. And her hubby. Is he in the book too? I love the way you wrote their relationship.

Thanks again for sharing the writing process. My prayer partner and I pray for you at least once a week. (Just thought ya might like to know.)

Grace and peace,
Cindy Q

Cheryl Russell said...

This BGer is going to be in Nashville in September. This is my first time for a ACFW conference and I'm looking forward to it!

Melding two series into one book...cool. Will this lead to a third series involving these two, or is this just a single book?

Cheryl R

ValMarie said...

When will Web of Lies be out? I just bought the first three Hidden Faces books at my local B&N and am waiting anxiously for the conclusion of the series.

I've also managed to get several friends hooked on your books as well. :-)

C.J. Darlington said...

Valmarie: check out Brandilyn's website. http://www.brandilyncollins.com
I was visiting last night and saw the new cover and info about Web of Lies. Very cool.

Of course, Brandilyn, if you're struggling with a title for your Paige book, you know you can count on us BGs to get the ol' brain juices flowin'!

C.J. Darlington said...

Regarding the ACFW conference. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to make it this year, but I'll be signing away here on cyberspace to you folks who do. Sounds like a blast.

Evelyn said...

Still trying to decide between ACFW and the Oregon Christian Fiction Writers Conference (featuring James Scott Bell). Guess I'l better make up my mind soon...

Becky said...

Yeah, right now one conference a year is really all I can swing, and ya know I picked Mt. Hermon. (I think there's some advantage to going to the same one for a while.) Guess I have to wait until I'm a published, successful, best-selling author to flit from conference to conference! ; D

Ron Estrada said...

I think I was the 2nd or 3rd person to register, despite ACFW's super secret grand opening of the link. My buds were on top of it. A secret sign, you say? How about a typing motion with one hand? Like a spider. Ooh, that's good. Or maybe point with two fingers to our eyes, as in "Eyes of Elisha." Or we could all just wear "Saturday Night Fever" T-shirts. Don't lie! You know you have them buried in your closets! It's probably stuffed inside your avacado green fondue pots.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

I'll be at the ACFW conference, too. It'll be my second one. I was at Houston 2 years ago. I can't wait.

Your story about discouragement and the feeling of "I can't do this" came back to me yesterday in living color. I had a huge writing project dropped in my lap, and I started feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. I felt that way for about half a day before I remembered your post on spiritual warfare. I prayed against those feelings and they went away like a puff of smoke. Without your telling us your story, I don't know if I'd ever make the connection between those feelings and spiritual attack.

Thanks for sharing that difficult experience with us. I know it ended up being very beneficial to me.

Dee said...

I was heartbroken when Bo lost. I will be buying, too.