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.