Cheri's Hypertext Monster

07 Aug 2021

2021-08-07 Writing Journal

Writing Journal

At the start of each of my Emerald City Spies novels, Seattle speaks in the prologue. Here’s a bit from Hostile Takeover, my novel in progress.

When darkness falls, I rise.

Illumination comes from within. Run the tip of your finger along my sharp-edged skyscrapers, wreathed in chilly fog. For you, I wear blue and gold wrapped in a black velvet sky. Smell my perfume, the musky damp of petrichor on asphalt. Hear my song, the wail of a siren, the cry of a gull, the slow lapping of water against the rocky shore. Run your hand along the smooth curve of my distant mountain.

Jessica… Jessica! Feel my heat as I feel yours. Your ambition has burned hot and bright since the day you set foot on my streets. Ever since, I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting…

Here. Now. Tonight.

You know what I want.

Seattle sounds horny, doesn’t she? 😋 I suppose Jessica’s story has always been about seduction, and Seattle is ready to see her long seduction pay off. It’s strange that I didn’t understand this on a conscious level until I spent a week paddling around in a one-page prologue. You’d expect an author to be in control of what they’re writing, right?

It doesn’t always work that way.

It’s been a difficult, sweaty week. I’ve been digging for words, coming up with a weak handful, discarding them, and digging again. Why can’t my writing process be a smooth, a slow-rising path that carries me from idea to outline to draft to edits to publication? There’s nothing smooth about my processes, really. I wrote a rough outline, blasted through the first 10,000 words with my tail on fire, then went back to figure out the prologue because I felt lost without it. Then I gulped down a bunch of books on structure until I figured out why the third act wasn’t sitting quite right in my head. Finally, it clicked for me and I’m ready to write again.

Back and forth, writing and thinking, outlining and drafting, zooming for a while then feeling stuck on a single page… I’m not alone in this experience.

E.L. Doctorow said: Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as the headlights but you can make the whole trip that way.

This week has been foggier than most, but the clouds are thinning out at last. A clear stretch of road is up ahead. Pedal to the metal, baby!

Let’s make books happen.

Listening to: Woke up This Morning: The Sopranos Theme Song. 🎶