As the crow flies…
Where does he fly?
What does that have to do with a writer who has a blog deadline coming up and nothing but a blank page?
Well, let’s see if I can spin it. Here goes.
I’ve been talking about starting with an idea and adding ingredients much like in a recipe. That analogy works, because it takes lots in the pot to cook an entire meal...um, write a complete story. But it is that easy? I mean, here’s the idea, now toss in a few characters, some action, some crisis points, some resolution, and voila! A happily ever after emerges. It won’t make it past the editor or the beta readers.
You have to start at the beginning. (Charlie Crow takes wing.) You have to know where you’re going. (Charlie is looking for greener pastures.) You have to get there without delay. (Charlie has miles to go before he sleeps.) And you have to finish on time and satisfactorily. (Let poor Charlie find a good meal and a soft nest.)
When I started Ruthann’s War, I started with an idea and a general setting. When I finished the first draft, Charlie was still up there flying around pretty aimlessly. Back to the drawing board. I even considered nixing the happily-ever-after, but of course, that wasn’t a really an option. By then I’d fallen head over heels in love with Drew Mallory myself! And, alas, he was a figment of my imagination, so if I couldn’t have him, I had to let Ruthann have him.
I’ve been working on one novel (the great American novel, no doubt) for something like 40 years. Going back and re-reading the original on those little hard disks always fascinates me. Then I read newer versions and can’t decide if I like them better or not. It’s a pretty good bet the novel won’t ever be finished. Charlie is up there flapping his wings and cawing (chuckling) at me. He knows where he’s going—I don’t.
But let me suggest you visit Amazon and pick up a copy of Ruthann’s War.
She wanted to flee from the haggard, gray-faced stranger in front of her, but she couldn’t move.
“Aggie told me you were upstairs packing. You should’ve gone last week instead of coming to school like nothing was wrong.”
“I didn’t. . .” Her voice died away.
“I told you to go, and you didn’t listen.” His eyes--colder than they’d been the day he tore up her contract--repelled her now where before they’d drawn her into his heart.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think. . .”
“It doesn’t matter what you thought,” he interrupted her. “All that matters is that you and your pupils almost died.”
She stepped aside as he started laboriously for the door, his leg dragging.
“I didn’t ask you to love me either,” she managed to whisper as he came even with her.
He stopped, but this time he didn’t look at her. “It was a fling, that’s all. A fling like Gwen said. Go home, Miss Cooper. I want you out of Camden permanently.”