I’m officially starting the new book, but my editor and I have made some huge changes to what I originally submitted. All the ideas are awesome, but they’ve definitely gummed up the writing. It’s funny how a few changes (say, nixing an idea for a creature’s power) can change everything (say, that creature’s whole outlook on life, interactions with others, etc.).
So what does that mean?
It means I’m back at my mental blackboard, getting to know everyone again and figuring how the changes I’ve made impact everything else.
But I love this part of the process. I keep saying it’s like putting on other people’s skins, which is creepy, but it’s also true. I hate to get hippie-dippie about the process, and I’m not one of those people who talks to her characters or has lunches with them or anything like that. I am definitely making this shit up–these characters are products of my imagination. At the same time, however, they do grow in my mind in a way that feels separate from me, somehow. It’s like I plant a seed–an outfit, a drink, a song–and it grows into a whole person, tendrils of personality and appearance knitting together into an organic whole that I feel only partially responsible for creating.
Granted, sometimes I have to kick the tendrils in the direction I want them to grow, or graft on something I need, or whatever gardening metaphor works to explain my role in the process.
And this creation period is rather glorious. In a word, I feel fecund. I feel fertile, creative, like a goddess–a goddess with admittedly mad hair, tired eyes, and stains on my sweatshirt (fittingly, they’re pomegranate stains at the moment). But slowly, Leila’s revealing herself to me, showing me the world she lives in and the people she loves. I’m also getting to know those who made and make Leila: the people who antagonize her, and thrill her, and terrorize her. I’m wearing a lot of people-coats at the moment, making me feel like a writerly version of Buffalo Bill (it will put the lotion on its skin!).
If you want to follow me along this road, I’ve created two things. First, Leila’s playlist on Spotify is growing, slowly. You can follow it here:
I’ve also created a Pinterest page for Leila and her cohorts, here. I’m not really sure how Pinterest works, so don’t be offended if I don’t follow you or pin you or board you or whatever Pinterest wants us to do together. But if you want some interaction, definitely come to my Facebook page or my author page (the latter is more professional, the former has more pictures of sammiches and inappropriate comments). You can also follow me on Twitter.
I’ll be bitching about writing this thing soon enough. But right now, I’m going to enjoy birthing my babies. Not least as Leila seems to demand my favorite local bar for her writing. Jane wanted very particular coffee shops in each city I’ve written her in, but Leila just wants Kelly’s and a pint of Guinness.
I’ve learned not to question my girls. They know what they want, and I like it.