Monday, June 06, 2005

How I Got Here--THE END, Can You Believe It!?


Yes, you read that title right. Our NES is about to turn into an ES. End, caput, finale, curtain down.

First—some great comments from last Friday. I got a kick out of ’em. Becky said something interesting about the predicament I left off with (mourning my loss of writing women’s fiction). She opined that my suspenses have more characterization than some, and that I have an interesting way of describing things—and perhaps I could use more of these techniques and still write suspense?

Well, ya hit the nail on the head, Becky. The biggest reason I’ve had so much trouble writing my Paige book (first in a new series) is I couldn’t figure out what kind of tone I wanted it to take. I’ve floundered around and finally hit on what I want—pretty much what Becky suggested. Yes, it will still be plenty suspenseful, with ye ol’ cliffhangers and all that. But I want to do some interesting things with the stories. These novels won’t be as linear as those in Hidden Faces. They will take a little more time with characterization and phrasing—without dragging. I still have a voice that wants things to move in suspense. But I want to go a little deeper with some other aspects of the story.

Now that I’ve finally settled on this—let’s hope the writing speeds up. I’ve got to cook these next four weeks.

Something else interesting on Friday—I had a long conversation with marketing guru Sue at Zondervan. Uh-oh. Found out she’s been reading my blog. I had no idea. For all I know my editor’s reading it too. Which means there ain’t no way on this green earth they still think I walk on water. (Surely they once did.) Sue went so far as to threaten me to pop in with a comment one day and tell y’all I’ve been lying about her. I haven’t been lying. Just ’cause I play the storyteller. Just ’cause she really did drive me crazy with that “gimme a title” thing last fall . . .

Speaking of—wouldn’t you know she asked me for the title to my new book?

Also over the weekend—I had a booksigning and got to meet a BG! Had no idea she even lived in the area. Dineen Miller, it was. The BG sign—spider thing with the fingers—gave her away. Got to see a couple other BGs, too. Dineen and I took a picture. Actually, we took several. The first were tame. Too tame. The next one, I suggested we do faces. I did my frog face (for a riveting photo, haha). Brought the entire bookstore to a standstill, I do believe. Anyway, it’s quite the photo. Just ask Dineen. Her face was kinda like “I just saw something frightfully ugly." Probably because I gave her a sneak preview of my frog face.

A second BG, Camy, brought her husband to meet me. This will no doubt be the last time he ever wants to tag along to one of my signings. I was, um, just being my killer self.

Speaking of which. We left off our NES last Friday with me assuring myself that I was gonna duck out of this suspense only shtick. Sheesh, what happened? Last time I looked, my logo still said “Seatbelt Suspense.”

A good night’s sleep can do a lot for a person. I woke up realizing, again, that God had led that meeting, and I’d better leave well enough alone. I will confess I mourned for about a month for my lost other half. And I’ll also admit that I don’t really think I’ll be killing people for the rest of my life. (I had a conversation about this with my mother over the weekend, who already thinks I’m warped and is becoming more worried about me with each passing day. Oh, yes, she reads this blog too.) In time I’ll be able to do other things. When, I don’t know. My editor assured me during the meeting, “Build your audience, then they’ll follow you wherever you go.” Jury’s out on this one. First I gotta build that audience of 10 million, dontcha know. Second, seems to me the longer one is branded in a genre, the harder it is to break out. Look at John Grisham. He tried some other things—more contemporaryish—and readers said, hey, what gives, go back to the legal suspense stuff. So we’ll see.

Still, right now I find myself in a place I like. I’m a suspense author. I keep killin’ folk, yup. But I wanna see how scary and dark I can be while also focusing on characterization and using my own voice.

And so here endeth our NES. Rather quietly, I will say, after so many cliffhangers and tears and kicking cabinets and such. About a month after that marketing meeting in January, I started this here blog. And not long after that I got the bright idea to “take a couple of days” and tell you my writing journey. A mere 65 posts later, with some interruptions here and there, we are back to where we started.

Oh, a postscript. Remember awhile back I told y’all about lining the long divider in my office with all the various versions of my books? How I started with one lone book? Then a second came. And a third. Well, a few months ago I officially ran out of room. And just last week I received the latest—Brink of Death in German. It’s book #27.

I still look at that line-up when the writing gets tough. Which is often. God’s brought me a far and wonderful distance. And thanks to His mercy, I’ve only just begun.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've only just begun...and will get to that ten million! We'll see to it. Thanks for the ride. Eileen

Linda said...

Brandilyn, what time DO you get up in the morning? Here I am in EDT and no matter how early I get up of a morning, your blog is already posted. Thanks for a great story -- definitely should be a book -- and the encouragement it gives to us . . . what was it Randy Ingermanson called us? oh yeah, the pre-published. :o) Not to mention the spiritual inspiration.

I do hope you find your way back to women's fiction someday, though. I'm not much on scary suspense, though not so scary suspense is just fine (I've slavishly followed How I Got Here, for example), but I loved the Bradleyville series and would love to read more of a similar nature. Understand the need to build your audience in a particular genre, though. God's blessings to you.

Sharon said...

Um...what am I supposed to do now? Reading this NES blog has become part of my morning ritual: breakfast, blog, check-email, get dressed.

Thanks for all the time you invested in writing it. As a new writer, I've learned so much from you. I will press on, stay "armed", and follow the call. May God continue to bless you, Brandy! I would love to meet you at Glorieta in October. Hopefully, I will remember spiderfingers!

Sharon said...

Oops, sorry. I read to edit AFTER I posted my comment. I made a big mistake and called you BRANDY. Sorry, Brandilyn!

Becky said...

Coming to the end of your NES is a little like coming to the end of a really good book--there's a sense of sad satisfaction, the sad part because there isn't another chapter to read.

The good part, in this case, is we don't have to wait a year for the release of the next book. I, for one, am looking forward to your take on some of the other topics that have come up during this time. And I imagine you'll find a way to entertain and cliff hang and inspire along the way.

Gotta say, I'm excited about what you related regarding the Paige story. Like Linda, I'm not one for scary supense (as I'm sure I've mentioned once or twice before--hahah), but I enjoy and admire your writing. I'm looking forward to your use of an "expanded palette."

C.J. Darlington said...

Like Eileen said, the story has just begun! Thanks so much for this fun story of your journey, Brandilyn. I'm looking forward to future topics. Keep writing for Him!

Kelly Klepfer said...

Ultimate cliffhanger, Brandylin!
What's gonna happen tomorrow? I've got chills!

Domino said...

Thanks so much for your NES. It has been enlightening and encouraging. I've enjoyed it.

What's next? I'm still here.

ValMarie said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Brandilyn. I've been really challenged to dig deep and really discover what God wants from me and my writing. Thank you so much!

I'm looking forward to reading what you discuss next.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brandilynn,

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your writing experince. I found out late about your blog, and started at post one to catch up. It was worth it. I enjoyed every post.

Writing is a crazy career, one I've been trying to break into for years. Some days I wonder why!

For the book, its just something about getting that first book. Maybe once I feel it I can give up the urge to write.

NAH!

Thank you,

LaShaunda
sormag.com

Bret said...

Brandilyn, I'm looking forward to where you'll take us next. BTW, it's always a thrill strolling through my local Barnes & Noble (as I did yesterday) and checking to see if your books are on their shelves. Yep, they were.
Blessings, Bret

Lynette Eason said...

Well, I must say, this BG is sad to see the NES come to an end. I don't comment much, but I read faithfully. Thank you for the delightful stories within a story within a story...hm, guess that's a plot with a couple of sub plots. Anyway, looking forward to the next installment!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Meeting you, Brandilyn, was the highlight of my week! What a pleasure to meet such a witty and gracious lady. I'm honored to be mentioned in your blog. Can't wait to read my personally signed books. And to read what you have planned to share with us next right here.
Blessings from a faithful BGer!

mrsd said...

Is the blog ending too? Or what? (I hope not!)

Fondly,
mrsd

Camy Tang said...

Hi Brandilyn,

Wow, I got a mention in your blog! Cool. My husband was pretty excited to be mentioned too. As for his thoughts when he met you: aside from the killing people part, he thinks you're a rather nice person.

Of course, he's also met Dineen and thinks she's perfectly sane.

Oh, and remember we talked about which guy I thought Annie would end up with? Well, I finished "Dead of Night" last night (in the dead of night, LOL) and my answer still stands.

As for suspense vs. women's fiction, I personally think it'll work out fine eventually. One thing I've learned about writing from reading your suspense books is that your characters are so incredibly rich, the plot is almost peripheral. There are suspenseful moments, and cliffhangers, but essentially these stories are all about Annie and how she changes. And isn't that just women's fiction with a little crime thrown in?

Sad the NES is ending,
Camy

dora said...

Brandilyn,

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

I read the whole NES today and was so sorry to see it end. Looking forward to exploring other aspects of your writing.

Got to get me one of those books. If you can hook the reader this well with blog posts about your life, there's no telling what you can do within the broader confines of fiction.

So glad to make your virtual acquaintance.

Write on! I'll be reading.