Charting a new course

Okay, true confessions time.

I almost entitled this post “Course corrections,” but that would not have been honest. Because instead of making changes and adjustments to the plot, story line, and characters of the book that has preoccupied me for, oh, about a year now, instead I’ve put that work on hold in favor of a new project.

Why and how did this happen?

In mid-February, we went down to North Carolina for our annual winter beach week. We love the beach in winter: in February, it’s just you and nature and pungent sea air and silence broken only by the sound of waves washing onshore. Ah….. It’s very relaxing and inspiring in that it allows one’s mind to clear out and open and think.

And what I started thinking about was another story line that has been in my mind for a while now. A story about a woman who goes to her estranged husband’s house a week before their divorce is to be finalized, only to discover him and his girlfriend dead, murdered, on the floor. The detectives in charge of the case suspect her at first, but their investigation reveals that she could not have committed the crime and gradually points instead to someone much closer to home. Working title: Absolute Trust.

So, mostly to indulge and humor myself (because that’s what vacations are all about, right?), I sat down at my trusty laptop one afternoon and proceeded to write the first chapter. And then another chapter, and then another and another. The first draft is now at 26,000  words and growing. The characters are blossoming and becoming more real, even as I write. (Please don’t think me odd, but it’s almost as if they speak to me sometimes when I’m writing to say, “What are you thinking? I wouldn’t say or do that; I’d say or do this instead.” And so I change things to make them happy.)

What this all means is that Wait For Me is on hold, indefinitely. Which is fine because if you’ve read this blog, you know this work has been something of a struggle from the beginning. I still think the basic story line is interesting, but I also think maybe the creative part of my brain has been trying to tell me something. And I finally decided to listen.

This new course of action already feels like a much better fit. My goal now is to get that first draft done, just barrel on through and write until it’s finished. I’m not going back to earlier chapters to edit them, even after the characters have taken me in a new direction. That editing and polishing and harmonizing will come later. (I do go back and insert notes in the text as reminders, though, but that’s it.) This is the style and approach that has worked best for me in all the writing I’ve ever done: just get it all down on paper—ideas, questions, even gaps—and then start reworking the text once the first draft is complete.

So, wish me luck. I’ll certainly be keeping this blog up to date with the latest progress! Now, off to work on the part where my main detective character re-interviews the woman who discovered the bodies (and who, by the way, will become his love interest).

I’m ready for action!


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