I’m up to 15,000 words on the new project. It’s a totally different experience than any other book I’ve started. It’s a different genre (contemporary speculative/literary fiction vs. my usual science fiction) and a different target audience (adult vs. YA). It’s set in a normal American city with a normal young mother as the main character, so it requires no research beyond a quick trip to the Social Security list of the most common names for people born in the 1970’s and 80’s. It’s just easier and more fun than anything I’ve tried to write so far.
There’s one little thing about it though.
If you boil it down, the first half of the novel is about fear. The main character spends much of the first half of the book progressing from slightly anxious to paralyzed in terror. Since the story is written in first-person, it makes me jumpy to work on it. Typically I’m sitting alone in the kitchen writing. Late at night. With a window at my back. And wind chimes hanging outside of the aforementioned window. In Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. And yes, I’ve seen Signs.
It’s basically a recipe for panic attacks at 1am.
Despite the insomnia-inducing feelings of paranoia late at night, this book is a joy to work on. The characters are so real to me that they take no effort to write. Even the house the main character lives in and the church she goes to are vivid in my mind in a way that the settings on Mars never were. Even though the plot is insanely complicated to explain (to the point that I’ve given up trying to explain it even to my husband), to me it is straightforward and makes perfect sense. When I sit down to work on it, I know exactly where I’m going and how it will all connect in the end. Best of all I don’t have the urge to edit anything yet. I just want to write new scenes! If you’ve followed my writing posts at all, you know this is the complete opposite of my typical feelings about my first draft. I’m usually frustrated, lost, and scraping the bottom of the bucket for ideas. Instead I’m looking for excuses to write and lying awake creating plot twists.
Maybe this is the story where everything “clicks.” I hope so.
I’m thinking about posting a few snippets of scenes just to see what people think, so please comment if you’re interested in that. I need to get back to writing.