By Sherry — just back from New England and all its glorious fall beauty
Last weekend Kensington sent the Wickeds on a three day mini-tour in New England. One of the questions posed was what brings you joy in writing. I said it was when the magic happens. The moment you are facing your computer not knowing what you’re going to write. Then you place your fingers on the keyboard and words come out. Sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s painfully slow. I heard a story one that Handel wrote the Messiah in three days. If it was true I’m sure the music was playing in his head for months before he wrote it down.
Last week I turned in From Beer to Eternity, the first Chloe Jackson Sea Glass mystery, to my editor at Kensington. As I mentioned last week it was the hardest book I’ve ever written. I got so inside my own head with this one. I wanted it to be perfect from the first sentence on. Perfection is no way to write. As I said in my post The Finishing Line, the mean editor in my head kept telling me, “You can’t do this. It’s not as good as Sarah.” Shutting up that editor took a lot of hard work. And the help of independent editor Barb Goffman and my beta readers Mary Titone, Jason Allen-Forrest, and Christy Nichols. Barb especially pushed me to dig deep. And I did. Jason made a suggestion that made the opening much stronger.
This week I started the ninth Sarah Winston book. My editor came up with the title, Absence of Alice. I was glad to be with the Wickeds to talk over who Alice was and why she was important to the story. As Julie and I drove back from New Hampshire to Boston on Monday she helped me plot. Who are the suspects? Why is this happening? Where does the book start? It was great. Thank you, Julie!!!
Tuesday afternoon I sat fingers to keyboard and the opening scene poured out of me. It’s a movie that’s been swirling in my head for a few months ever since I got the germ of an idea of what I wanted this story to be. Even before I knew about Alice. But the opening scene also chilled me and I thought it was maybe too scary.
So I called Barb Goffman. And she came up with a delightful suggestion. When I sat down to write this afternoon the magic was there again. The scene dancing in my head poured out onto the blank computer screen. It’s a fun scene. A happy scene. Then bam — there’s the twist. I love it.
The magic is why I write. I wish it was always as easy as the past two days, but it isn’t. I know there will be slogs ahead. Games of solitaire played instead of writing. Checking Facebook instead of writing. But if I trust, I know the magic is there lurking.
Readers: What motivates you to do something you love? Writers have you experienced that magic?