Exhilaration and fear of a First Draft

Image credit: speedfighter
Image credit: speedfighter

There’s something almost magical about sitting down to write something new. I often do it with very little idea of what I’m going to be writing about. Sometimes a core scene will hit me out of the blue and I’ll go with that. For The Binding, it was the scene where my heroine wakes up tied down in a cell, and a man comes to hurt her, but breaks her out of prison as well.

For my latest book, though, I didn’t have any idea prepared. I’d just finished up The Binding and was sending it out to agents, and thought I’d start something new, but didn’t know what. I was just free-writing—writing any scene that came to mind, with any characters, just experimenting. Some of the scenes were fantasy, some romance, some no discernible genre. The one that led to Before and After the Wedding was about a couple getting married, but it was obvious there was something very wrong between them. He doesn’t even want to kiss her, or as the heroine thinks: “If there’s something he doesn’t want to press against my body—any part of it—it’s his lips”.

That scene, and the main character, drew me in enough to spend a month madly writing any scene that came to mind with these characters in it. All to find out what was going on between them, what had happened, and how they were going to fix it—all things I had no idea about when I set out. It all came together though, the main story arch, the characters, the conflict.

Then, of course, I spent another ten months or so crafting all this into a coherent book. But the initial seed was just that, a scene that appeared out of nowhere when I sat down to write.

Well, I’m just embarking on the same journey again this month. Sitting down to write, but having no clue what I’m really writing about. And it’s equal parts exhilaration and fear, because I never feel quite sure that a book will come out of it. But I do know that I’m going to spend the next month or so finding out what these two new characters are all about—this lonely woman, and the guy she stumbles on one night outside the library.

I’m hoping for a happy ending.

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