“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” Theodore Roosevelt
Book ideas, like everything else in life, rarely come together easily. Unlike Teddy, I have envied the easy life, even though it doesn’t do any good. Right now I’m an expert on easy vs. impossible because I’ve been working on the same idea for my next book for what seems like years. In fact it has been years. Recently, while digging through an old file, I came across the first seeds of this story. From 2014!
Last June I brainstormed an expanded version with my brainstormer buddies. In the months since I have taken the parts I liked and tossed the others, redone the parts I liked, thrown them out forever, fished them out of the trash can, and squinted carefully at my broken pieces to see what I could salvage.
My problems were many.
In the past month, despite numerous stops and starts, I came up with a solution I loved, and was I delighted? I killed off a major character and started the story without him. That worked for a day or two until I realized the story really had no place exciting enough to go. So I resurrected him–something we writers can do with a clack of a key or two–and struggled some more. A week later I killed off another major character. She only stayed dead for an hour or two before I resuscitated her. She had to be on the pages, too.
My real life family arrived, and after they left, I spent a couple of days doing research, so the book was still on my mind, but in a different way.
Sometimes a break from struggling is the best way to move a story along. Because I wasn’t writing I realized one of my resurrected characters was boring. That person didn’t need assassination, she just needed a personality transplant, another thing we writers do with the clack of keys. We are all powerful.
So that’s where I am now.
I’m not sure I’ve reached that blissful ka-ching moment, the moment when everything just falls into place and we finally know we are on our way to the easy life. But I am so much closer.
Theoretically I’ve taken five years to get this close to my plotting finish line. Of course, when I finally do, there’s still a book to write. But once I start, I’ll have my road map. If I don’t veer off course and head back to bury and dig up more bodies, I think I’ll be in business.
Wish me luck.