Monday, October 31, 2005

When Fear Wins

Okay, I finished my revisions, collapsed, revived. Time to move on. What should I work on next?

Option 1: Write up proposal for brilliant romantic suspense idea I have.
Option 2: Write MUST LOVE DRAGONS, the next book due under the Warner contact.

Now, I really should write MLD. I want to get it finished before the Christmas holidays, so I need to get cracking. But after I read the synopsis and the first three chapters, and congratulated myself on a really excellent concept, I started to panic. Am I really capable of writing another book in this series? What if I can't deliver? What if I let my editor down? How do I know where to start? I wrote this sucker up two months ago, and I can't remember anything about it, other than what made it into the proposal I sent to my editor.

So, I reached for the romantic suspense proposal. So much easier. All I have to do is come up with three chapters and a synopsis, and have some fun doing a bunch of brainstorming. Easy, fun, no pressure. I can do that...

But then I stopped. I was avoiding writing MUST LOVE DRAGONS because I was afraid of failing. Afraid of failing before I even started, afraid of failing once I'd finished. I had no idea what to write to start chapter four. No idea how to take this concept into a great 400 page story with vibrant characters, cool plot twists and new paranormal elements.

Once I realized that my choice was being dictated by fear, I knew it was time to write the damn book. I knew I couldn't just plunge into chapter four, so tonight I sat down with a notebook and pen and started brainstorming about the new villain in this story. That led to some insights about the hero, which led to more plot ideas, and I was off and running, the ideas flowing. No pressure to write. Just the freedom to let my imagination run. I realized that once I got the juices flowing, I would be so immersed in the story that the writing would be a breeze.

I think I'll do one more day of brainstorming (not on the computer to give my hands another day to heal), and then I'll be ready to write on Wednesday, and I'll be so much further along for the fact I spent a couple days brainstorming a book that supposedly was all ready to write. The book will be better and the writing easier because of the brainstorming, and the fear will be gone.

Three birds, one stone. Life is good.

Moral of the story: if you're struggling with a story, try a different approach. It might get you out of your slump.

PS I won a tennis tournament this weekend! Yay!


At 6:41 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Congrats on the tennis win. And good luck on MLD. I'm sure it will be great.


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