A title that pretty much covers everything I write here. Got sidetracked by the need to go to a conference and all the prep work for it. Got back late yesterday and am trying to recharge today. NJ always has a good conference and I meet a lot of old friends there. I was sorry to see that attendance was down a bit but the economy sucks, so it wasn't a big surprise. It's such a good conference that I'm sure it'll bounce back when the economy does(fingers crossed that the economy does bounce back)
Wrote an article for the RIRW newsletter about Black Moments - that place in the story where the main character - or characters - think all is lost and they won't see that Happily Ever After. In romance it's that moment when the hero or heroine or both think they have failed in love or will never be able to be with the one they love. As I confessed in the article - for the first few books I got published I was never really sure where that was in my story. Then again, at the start I was more or less flying solo. Then I discovered RWA and the local chapters. And that is when I suffered a bout of extreme lack of confidence. Had to slap some sense into myself by reminding that quivering inner coward that I must be doing something right or I wouldn't have gotten published to begin with.
It was then that I decided I couldn't take everything I heard at the workshops as the perfect way to do things - no matter how big a star was giving me that advice. I tried everything, didn't just shrug it off, because it might have worked for me. Some did. Some didn't. I finally had to accept the fact that I am not a particularly organized person. Plot charts, character charts, plot points, marking and pre-planning all conflict ups-and-downs, etc. work marvelously for many people. Not for me.
For me thinking about it works. It's in my head. Characters form and change and stabilize in my mind. I then ask - okay , what would put these two people together and what could work to try and keep them apart - what is the thing they must overcome. I scribble down notes on scraps of paper and stack them on my desk until I feel ready to get going on the story. Sometimes I just abruptly start writing a first chapter, sometimes more, and that solidifies everything. Because sometimes the opening scene is so clear in my mind it seems a waste of time to wait until everything else falls into place and once I get that part of the story so clear in my mind down on paper, the rest starts to come together. Or not. I do have a lot of false starts tucked away that may see the light of day somewhen.
And, yes, I do have to do a synopsis for each story. I find them a painful exercise. One thing I do, aside from all this thinking and mental character development, is collect up a bunch of possible plot points. Then I scribble out a very thin list of things - conflict(inner or outer and I tend to prefer the outer conflict such as a psychopath after the heroine), places they will go or stay at, her inner insecurities, and such. And, let's face it, what woman would not feel insecure or worry that she hasn't got what is needed to win the heart of the type of heroes we put in romances. It usually gives me enough to come up with a reasonable synopsis, albeit one with very little middle to it because I don't really know what's going to happen there. I could put something in but the chances of it changing as I go along are great. So, as all who know me have heard, the middle is usually little more than They fled across France or They hunted down the killer. That's what is going to happen but the details of it just aren't there yet and won't be until my characters get me to that part of the story.
So, right now, as I wrap up the tale of Hartley and Alethea(who are doing things that aren't in my synopsis thus behaving just as I knew they would - leading me along for the ride) there is a part of my brain already playing around with an idea for the next book. Simon Innes from HIGHLAND SINNER is skipping around in my head and he wants a Murray lass. Which one? Don't know yet. Why would she meet up with Simon? Who knows, but since he is so good at solving crimes, I have to suspect she will be smack in the middle of one. I still have about a month to figure that out so I will let him continue to root around in my head until he finds what he thinks he wants. He's a cutie, so I don't mind.