Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The First Draft

Well, it’s been quite a month. I spent a full day lying on the couch, staring out the window at the trees and contemplating how I’d break the news to my editor that I was out of good ideas, that the initial idea I had for the third Freak book was rubbish and would never work. Then I tried to think up a better idea but nothing worked. Finally, as I often do when desperate, I called my friend and writing partner Perry Nodelman and we began to brainstorm. By the end of our talk I was pumped and ready to write. By the next day, almost all the ideas we had come up with I threw out, but something had happened. My brain was working again, and ideas were flowing and I had a rush of them, and then I knew what was going to happen. It all fit, it all worked and the more I thought about it, the more sense it made and the more ideas kept flowing.

I sat down to write- for the first time typing instead of writing long hand- and didn’t really get up from my desk for the next 2 weeks. My husband did all the shopping and cooking. I went for a walk every morning and one night we went to a movie with friends and twice the family came over for dinner. Outside of that I wrote. Usually a chapter a day, sometimes two or a chapter and a half. At night, before sleep, I’d plan the next day’s work. And at the end of two weeks, I had a finished book. I spent another week reading it over, editing it and just before the year ended I sent it off to my editor.

As I always do I read it to my husband every night- well, this time because it was typed he read it himself- and he would encourage me by telling me how good it was and how he wanted to know what would happen next so I felt I had to keep writing, and in the end he pronounced it
better than Visions. I hope my editor agrees.

The night I sent it off to my editor I felt sick all night. I have never sent off a manuscript without getting sick, even after all this time. Will the editor like it? Is it any good?
And then there’s the let down. I’m tired now, really tired.
And there’s the mystery: where did those words come from? How did that writing happen? To this day, the process is still a mystery to me.

Today I start writing chapter 2 of The Curse of the Emerald Eye, the book Perry and I are writing together. We’ve written the chapter one so that it can go in the back of the first book of the series, The Proof That Ghosts Exist.


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