Thursday, August 26, 2010

It came upon a midnight run. Okay, not midnight, but it was dark.

My best ideas always come to me when I'm right about to fall asleep or when I'm exercising (more often when I elliptical or walk than when I run). Kind of inconvenient, since I love sleeping and I never have a pen on me when I workout, but what do you do? I never turn away a good idea.

So good idea tonight came while running. Yes, I run at night. I've tried to run during the day, but the sun seems to sap my energy and I can never go as far. So tonight, after dinner, after putting the kids to bed, I went for my run. The weather's perfect right now- cool, low humidity- the air has just a hint of autumn in it (but I can still smell the aroma of sweetgrass, which is my favorite scent of all time and the only thing I really like about summer), and the moon was near full, casting enough light for me to see in front of myself.

My workout's been wonky since my back freaked out, so I was ultra pleased to find myself running with ease, with minimal pain and a lot of energy. It gave me the opportunity to think. I try not to focus my mind on anything when I'm running, and I tend to float from idea to idea. Tonight my brain was all in my book. I'm reading it through for the first time, and I have no idea if it's going to flow well. Oh, and make sense. That's a big one. Because it's not a plot-driven book, it's character-driven (they all are) and I hope I've done right by Amanda in telling her story.

Then, because my brain floats, I started thinking about Twitter. @Crzywritergrl had a tweet today asking writers when they bench a book or start over? I replied, because JUST A LITTLE RAIN has always been the story closest to my heart, and also the one I feel will be the hardest to sell. The reasons are simple. It's 150K and spans the MC's life from 16-30. Sure there's a 10 break in the middle, but that 10 year break also separates it into two books. Still, I love Eliza's story. And these three books I've written are a collection. They go together, and I want to keep them that way. So I'm always faced with the dilemma: how do I tell the story in a way that is publishable?

My answer came to me while running, and it's so simple, I can't believe I didn't see it before.

I've already written Eliza's story. I've already told the story I needed to tell for me. The details are all there, written down like a memoir, saved in a file and on several memory sticks. I got it out. Now I just need to shape her life into something people want to read. I need to simplify and give direction.

That, I can do. And I'm so freaking excited I can hardly stand it.

Listening to: St. Vincent "Actor"



  1. How Lovely! You made finishing a book sound so beautiful. Mine always seem to have gristly deaths, gurgling and sputtering until they finally kick the bucket.

    Love the post!

  2. Thanks Alyson, though the finish for my characters tends to be more peaceful than the end for me. Not that I'm a bloody mess. Well, not bloody.

  3. I'm the same way! My best ideas come while running (to clear my mind of the day) and the evening when I lie down for bed (where my thoughts race silently with no interruption) it's my favorite time of day, utter bliss finding it's way into my life, into my writing where I can gladly snatch the best ideas and run with them.

    Writing is such a beautiful gift, and I love it when you finally have that GREAT idea you've been waiting for and you realize how to make it all publishable. Gives you a reason to celebrate!!!

    Your blog is beautiful!!! Looking forward to following you!

  4. Thank you so much Jen. I'm glad you're here!