I'm always on the lookout for a little help from the universe. One of my favorite books is a giant dictionary of symbols, which I use to look up the meaning of anything that has captured my attention. I analyze my dreams. I read my horoscope religiously. I never doubt that my tarot spread is trying to tell me something.
Right now all I can do while PERFECT 10 is out with agents is wait, and you all know how much I just love waiting. So while I've been waiting, I've also been looking for signs.
Signs for what? you ask. Signs that will tell me I'm ready to write a new book.
My next book is another YA that I'm calling ALIBI. I have the basic outline of the plot all worked out and I've even written the main character before. Travis actually made a special appearance as one of Sam's love interests in PERFECT 10. It is, in a way, a prequel, taking place six years before PERFECT 10 begins.
But I haven't felt ready to write it yet. I've been "tempting the muse" by doing some writing experiments from Travis' point of view, and the other characters. I've been writing lyrics for Travis' music, which will play a big part in ALIBI, and compiling playlists. I'm filling out character charts and figuring out zodiac signs and interviewing the characters. Basically, I'm getting organized while also trying to get into the characters' heads. Eventually, something will come of this. My muse will find something - a phrase, an idea, a scene, etc - that is too enticing to resist, and it will latch onto it and send me into a writing frenzy that will last until the book is finished.
But this latching won't come as a surprise. I know myself, therefore I know my muse. There are certain things that have to happen before I'll feel ready to write it - signs, if you will. Because my characters drive my writing, not necessarily the plot, my signs have to do with my relationships with the characters. Here are the signs I look for to know if I'm ready to write:
- The Voice - When the character telling me the story becomes an undeniable voice in my ear, I'm ready. Often I have more than one voice in my head and they all want my attention. But when one becomes urgent, when his/her speech patterns and cadences become defined, when I can tell as much from the way he/she is speaking as I can from the story I'm hearing, I've got my narrator.
- Filling in the World - There is a moment that I think every writer knows, and that's the moment when you figure out what is going to make your plot turn into a STORY. When the gaps in that informal outline start to fill themselves in, and A meets up with B, and you know exactly why your character needs/wants/must do something, then you're muse is off and running and the story itself pushes you forward.
- Love - Yep, love. And not the type of love you feel on that tentative first date with someone, even if you know he's Mr. Right. I'm talking about the love you feel for someone when you've spent a considerable amount of time with them and know them inside and out. I often fall in love with my plots, but I'll be honest: I ALWAYS fall in love with my main character. I become obsessed with everything about them, I laugh at all their jokes, give them heartseyes, and sigh wistfully when I think of them. That love for my character always pushes me to tell their story the best way I can because I feel this
crazydevotion to them.
I haven't yet seen the signs that I'm ready to write ALIBI, but I will soon. All my writing experiments are heading towards it. I'm beginning to hear Travis' voice, and his love interest, Lindsay's. I'm beginning to see what the characters truly desire, and how that will propel the story forward.
And yeah, I'm beginning to fall for Travis. We're definitely in that first date phase and he's doing his best to woo me. (Side note: what kind of a word is woo, anyway? It's awful.) He's being really interesting and charming in my head, and kind of mysterious about the story he's got to tell, and I have to admit, I'm intrigued. I have a few weeks off of school for Christmas, time I can use to keep tempting the muse, and I have no doubt that something will take hold of me and by January, I'll be writing again. And wouldn't it be nice to have a good start on a WIP when an agent takes an interest in PERFECT 10? Yeah, I think so too.
So basically, friends, watch out. ALIBI is on its way.