This is a blog series that I am writing about the process of authoring my next title to be released on Amazon. Previously I did not have a title and referred to it as Project X. Now we have a working title and it will be under the Liquid Gold Blog title that I will be writing about Inspiration to Publication.
This weekend we had the AFC and NFC play-offs for NFL Football. The games were great to watch and very exciting. One of the two teams I expected to get into the Super Bowl actually did. The General marched his troops down the field and did it in a very methodical fashion. Anyone who knows football probably knows which team I’m referring to. The other team I wanted had a few mental errors and that cost them the game. It’s a reminder to do my best to not lose focus or momentum. Looking at it today I’m sure the NFC team that lost is kicking themselves and repeating what I just wrote.
I’m currently visiting family in Michigan and went over to one of my sibling’s friend’s home to watch the games on multiple giant projection screens. There was one spot where, if a person were to sit there, they would be able to see at least 3 different screens with the game on. I nearly strained my neck constantly looking around. It was almost too much visual stimulation.
I was one of two women there (I’m not counting the female children that were running hither, thither and yon). The rest were all former football players of one type or another and there was one gentleman there who was fresh back from the war and had some interesting stories to tell about Special Forces. I won’t go into those, as promised, but holy cow do I respect our military families. They put up with an awful lot for us.
Testosterone filled the air. That’s fine, I dig that. As the malt beverages flowed through the crowd (and at least 2 large bottles of Crown Royal XO) the group became more chatty and I was able to quiz a few of the guys on things I’m curious about. It was some pretty intense research. A bunch of high school and college (and one former pro) football players drinking beer and watching games that determine the Super Bowl? If you can’t imagine it I don’t recommend trying. It was loud and smelly and very, very interesting.
During one of the few lulls in conversation I turned to one of the guys and finally asked something I’ve been dying to know since I began watching the sport. As usual I’ll use initials to preserve anonymity.
Me: So, J, you played in high school. Can you tell me what it’s like under that pile at the goal line? Is it like playing pick-up sticks (a game from my youth. If you’ve never heard of it, look it up) at the end of the play so legs aren’t broken and the like?
(Yes, I talk somewhat formally even with friends I’ve known my entire life)
J: Well, AK, when you’re under the pile you definitely know it.
Me: Um okay. Would it be metaphorically similar to the weight of the world?
And that encapsulates my night over there.
The more I thought about it, however, the more it seems to me that they are comparable. One being true weight and one being the weight that actually slows one down in life.
As I’m working on Liquid Gold I have ideas that flow smoothly. It’s a story I’ve thought about for some time after all. Then, when I’m actually writing the thing, so many ideas and thoughts and dialogue come to mind that it starts to feel like I’m paralyzed. It’s 2nd and goal and the defense put an instant stop to any progress. The brain doesn’t stop working but it doesn’t exactly help my progress because each idea, as it’s layered on, wants to scream “LOOK AT ME!! I’M IMPORTANT!!”
Every player in the pile at the goal line (the dog pile if you will) is important. Each player needs to extract themselves from the pile in a calm manner so as not to injure themselves or others. And ideas often feel that same way. Each one is deserving of my attention. It is very NOT cool to just toss an idea aside because it might prove difficult to initiate. Some of my best ideas have been quite complex and it takes patience to sort them out and implement. Same as clearing up that dog pile on the one yard line.
Thus far I have completed one chapter of (working title) Liquid Gold. It’s 5,000 words. I tend to use that as my standard because it keeps the chapters short and punchy. I did the evil and put one of my characters into serious harm’s way. I actually teared up a little as I wrote that part because I really, really like this character and I’ve put her in serious distress. And it’s not just the woman. The distress she’s under affects her family and friends so the guilt layered on. I unintentionally hurt certain characters when I intentionally hurt another. Why I feel guilty I don’t know. They aren’t actually people even if I can see them in my head and hear conversations that we’ve had and will have.
Do I feel a little dirty when they’re conversing with each other and I’m essentially eavesdropping? Not especially. When I have to write steamier scenes, however, that totally changes but check this thought process out: I’m spying through a window and ordering people around while they have sex. There’s a name for that and I don’t want to apply it to myself.
If one believes in predestination and God’s plan for us, I have to imagine He might feel the same.
Merely thinking about the process of writing another steamy scene is creeping me out. Let’s not forget to mention that the last time I was in town a nice lady who I’ve known for a while slapped me on the arm and told me, “Your sex scenes are really hot, I mean really.”
I love the woman but that made me desperately want to take a shower. I forget that people actually read the words I put down on my computer screen.
That adds to the weight I feel piling on me. Each idea, after all, must be given it’s due consideration. I worry now that the next time I try to write one of those scenes I’ll hear that woman and end up censoring where my head (and the characters’ body parts) goes. Worry is a weight all it’s own and should be discarded.
To wrap this up and keep a rambling thought short (I’m caffeinated to the point I could hang from the ceiling and watch the world go by, all twitchy and sharing thoughts at a mile per second) it is very important not to feel over-whelmed by ideas. Take one of those shiny ideas out of the box and take it for a test drive. My companion does it as he’s watching for errors in networks and all the other computer technology stuff that I only pretend I don’t understand. Well, I don’t get all of it but enough to follow along in some pretty weird technical conversations. Running scenarios, I believe is the phrase. Taking each path and attempting to mentally follow its route as it twists and turns and splits and, while doing so, predicting behavior.
Neither of our professions are meant for the weak, I’ll say that much for sure! If a person’s entire world crumbles from one bad review they won’t be long for the writing world. If a computer/internet tech can’t follow and hopefully predict the trail of a virus or any other kind of issue on a network they won’t be long for that world.
If the shiny idea ultimately flounders and doesn’t feel right, discard it and move on. There is an addendum to that, however. One can always keep certain components of the discarded idea, blend it with others and see what pours out. I’ve done that and it’s been effective. At Wit’s End, my third novel, has received a killer review about it being a unique idea. Hacker versus domestic terror militia group? I mean, seriously, who writes that? I do. HA!
All because I wasn’t afraid to pluck ideas from the top of the dog pile and work my way down to free the ball carrier at the bottom, which is the main idea the book is based on. The rest of it is ultimately window dressing. Like cheerleaders or something.
Rah rah sis boom ba! Get out there and start writing, people! I’m about to start on Chapter 2 so I’ll take my own advice.
Until next time, Java-mates!