Much more is involved in birthing a novel than the simple acts of coming up with a story line, planting one’s butt in a chair, and drafting the thing.

On the surface, my second novel is written. Am I done with it? Hell no! For those of you who follow this blog, and for my friends who are awaiting the next Emma Golden adventure, I won’t be done with it for quite some time.

Where does one get the  ideas for a novel? I met this one a few years when I picked up a local newspaper out in Newberg and learned of a middle-aged woman’s disappearance. The woman had moved with her boyfriend to another state, and bingo. She was gone, and her sister had alerted authorities and gone looking for her.

I don’t know if that mystery was ever solved, but I asked myself “What if?” and the seeds of a new story, this one of my own making, churned in my head for months. I had not yet completed An Unholy Alliance when my new book began to take form. I wrote in-depth character sketches of the major characters. I outlined the basic story-line during some down time while visiting a friend in New York three years ago. And then I necessarily forgot about it for a while.

A couple months ago and with the help of several people, the draft was completed. Now it is rewrite time.

How long will it take? As long as it takes. Chapters are flying back and forth between me and a couple of trusted advisors. My old friend, the former homicide detective, will be asked to weigh in heavily on several scenes. Words–approximately 60,000 of them–, sentences, paragraphs, and entire scenes will be analyzed, moved, corrected, okayed, or booted competely. And when this book is as good as I can make it, still more decisions await me.

This is just how it works. There are no shortcuts.

Meanwhile, the pile on the nightstand continues it’s perpetual movement skyward. I just finished reading Alan Bradley’s delightful latest installment in the Flavia de Luce series, A Red Herring with no Mustard. The almost-fearless Flavia is at it again, and has completely wormed her way into my heart with her wry wit and cold-bloodly realistic observations of the world around her. These are some of the best cozies ever.

Harlan Coben’s Edgar-nominated Caught has captivated me in its network of intrigue, believable characters, and crazy-making situations. I am its total slave until I finish it. This is a book to read for structure as well as a cracking story. Some seriously good writing here. (FYI: Coben’s earlier novel Tell No One was adapted into an excellent French movie some years back. The film is every bit as good as the book. Available on dvd.)

Happy weekend everyone!

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3 Response Comments

  • Gary Cornelius  March 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Enjoyed reading this post, since it mirrors my experience writing a first novel. Would you mind if put in on my website as a guest blog? With credit to you and listing your website, of course.

  • judy.n1@comcast.net  March 4, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Sure Gary.

  • Diane Teitelbaum  February 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

    OK, read the whole blog – you have written a novel and now a second. I love it. Please get in touch. I never knew you wanted to write fiction.