Friday, July 27, 2012

Inside a writer's head

As you probably know by now, I recently sold my third book to Harlequin SuperRomance. How this whole thing works is that I send them the first three chapters and an outline of the whole book to look at. They then come back to me and say, "we like it!", and I say, "yay!". And then they say "and now can you please send it to us by X", and then I say, "oh crap!". And then I write my little pants off.

April? I wish!
So I've been writing my little pants off. And even when I haven't been writing writing, I've been writing in my head. Words. Phrases. Ideas for character development. Little plot points.

There's this whole world going on inside me, pretty much 24/7.

It makes sleeping interesting, because as I'm lying in bed I will randomly say things aloud in a desperate attempt to sear them into my brain so I remember them the following morning. This doesn't work, as a general rule, but I've stopped bothering getting up and writing them down. Because for one reason, they don't stop. I write one thing down, turn off the light and roll over and then there's something else popping into my head. At a certain point you just have to get some sleep. For another reason, the next morning, the things I've written down are never quite as astonishing as I thought them at the time.

Because the book is in  my head all the time, everything I see and hear tends to become related to it. It's like when you're first in love with someone or something. You know, when your friend says, "I really like bacon" and you say, "What a coincidence, my sweetie-pie/celebrity crush/superhero likes bacon too!"

That obsessive time when any conversation not related to your love seems like a waste of time and you'll take any opportunity, no matter how awkward the segue to turn the conversation over to your favorite topic?


Today I've been working on a scene where my hero, Dean, is interacting on Twitter with some of his readers. Dean writes graphic novels and darkly disturbing horror stories about vampires and demons and other creatures that go bump in the night. He's based very much on Neil Gaiman -- who's kind of niche and yet kind of not at the same time -- with a blend of Stephen King and Robert Kirkman and Dean Koontz with a dash of Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling for good measure. He has a active persona on social media and a legion of uber-passionate fans. He's also movie-star good looking and has a drop-dead-hot bod (he is a romance hero after all).

I was doing a little research for the scene (or perhaps just wasting time on the internet -- sometime it's hard to tell the difference) and this comic from xkcd popped up:
xkcd very awesomely allow you re-publish their
comics anywhere, with attribution.
As I was reading it I was thinking how well it describes what has been happening for me this past week or two. A secret world inside, filled with a cast of characters and their joys and struggles. And then I got to the bottom right-hand corner and discovered where it came from: Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels -- one of the graphic novels I've been reading to get my head into this whole world of horror fiction!

I didn't even need to find an awkward segue to connect this image to my current all-consuming passion! Not only does it describe what's happening for me, it's kind of part of it too. Whoa. Consider me meta-ed to the nth degree.

Whatever you secret world inside is -- magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing -- I hope you're having fun with it today. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to making up imaginary tweets from fans obsessed with vampires. It's so much fun.


  1. I know exactly what you mean about turning every conversation topic into something about the book you're working on. I do that. My poor friends and family. All they're hearing Bout lately is my boyfriend. I mean, the hero of my latest book.

    1. I'm so glad it's not just me! I bored my colleague to death this week with the new plot I've discovered about a rabid, cosplaying fan...

  2. Maybe you need a little mini-recorder for the bedside table, Emmie. Although you may end up chattering into it all night, lol. Good luck with the deadline!

    1. That's not a bad idea, but you're right, I could end up with the same problem!