Last week I sent in the page proofs for Absence of Alice the ninth Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery and I’m writing the second Chole Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mystery—A Time to Swill. I get a little crazy when I’m writing — ask my family.
Every writer goes through a number of stages when writing – joy, despair, despair, despair, joy. Did I mention despair?
It starts with an idea. It’s a great idea. A fabulous idea. I am so freaking smart. Starting a new book is exciting. There are blank pages to fill–the idea to expand until it’s fully formed.
About a third of the way through I start to wonder why I thought the idea was a great one. It now just seems okay.
Halfway through I hate the idea. What was I thinking? It wasn’t a big enough idea. It’s not enough to carry a book. Worse, I think everyone has used this same idea.
Three quarters of the way through–I’m a fraud. Everyone is going to realize it when they read this book. I’m a terrible writer. The reviews will be scathing. They’ll say she had a good run, but this was bound to happen.
Near the end. Ooohh, that’s a good twist. No one will see it coming. I didn’t see it coming. Nope, that’s wrong. It’s too obvious. I have that big shiny clue in the middle of the book. I might as well have a neon sign pointing at it. All the reviews will mention how easy it was to figure out who was the killer.
I go through revisions and send it off to my editor. What if he hates it? What if he says I have to rewrite the whole thing. He doesn’t!
The copy edits arrive. I hate it. I love it. That line was brilliant. How did I write that awful paragraph? But I can fix it.
Page proofs arrive. It’s my very last chance to find errors. What if I miss something? I still have a love/hate relationship with the manuscript.
Advance reader copies go out. People like it. They laughed out loud. It made someone cry. Whew. Now on to the next book.
Readers: Do you doubt yourself when you are doing something creative?