What’s the next book?

by Alexandra Sokoloff

I am (THANK YOU GOD, ANGELS, AND THE UNIVERSE) closing in on the end of my current book, my first paranormal, part of The Keepers trilogy coming out in the fall.  

This is the stage of a book in which I have no earthly interest in doing anything other than to just get the damn thing done.    Even though I am comfortably within my deadline, though not entirely of my own doing,  I am not doing much of anything these days but waking and working, pausing once during the day to go work out (because if I didn’t, I would kill people).   And falling into an exhausted sleep after, if not during.

Not that there isn’t a lot of procrastination going on within the day, but I really don’t WANT to do anything else – I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to watch movies or TV, I definitely don’t want to blog, I don’t want to go out to lunch or dinner or Superbowl parties (although I was thrilled  at the outcome).   The state of discomfort of being near the end of a book but not quite finished is so great to me that I would rather put everything else aside and push through to the end and pick up the pieces of whatever life I have left when it’s actually over and there is that feeling of relief so vast that you actually remember why you ever wanted to write in the first place.

But I find myself in an interesting dilemma, for maybe the first time in my professional writing life.

I don’t know what to write next.

That’s not entirely true – I am 3/4ths done with a YA I was writing at the same time that I was writing this paranormal, but I bailed on it around Christmas when I realized it was just too hard to be writing two books at the same stage of the writing process – that is, first draft, second half.   That’s the HARDEST stage of any book for me and I couldn’t handle doing two at that same stage.    So yes, I will go back and finish that book with some of this new “I finished the book!” energy.

Oh yeah, and also about the same time I was finishing my Screenwriting Tricks For Authors workbook.  (Um, the next time anyone hears me whining about not getting enough work done, can you just gently remind me…)

What I mean is, I don’t know what I’m writing after that YA, and that’s an issue, because as you know, or for those of you who don’t know, as I’m about to tell you, you always need to be at least a year ahead of publication, so I need to have another book in the pipeline for NEXT year.

Now the fact is, I have several complete proposals done.   Whole stories worked out.  Could bash out a screenplay on any number of them in six weeks, easily  – have done it a million times before.   (Well, dozens.)   Actually I have a whole first draft of a book done, too, but that I can’t go back to right now because it’s just too painful a reminder of a very painful year last year – I need more distance to finish that one sanely.

And I probably will write the books in those proposals one day.   Or I won’t.   I have so many books I am never going to be able to write.    But I know they’re not the right book right now.   At this stage of writing I can’t afford to be working on any book that isn’t the RIGHT book.

In the past I would have just jumped into one of those ideas, just decided and soldiered on.    I HATE the not knowing.    It is excruciating.   But we really have such limited time – as writers and on earth.   

And the truth is, I’ve had a cataclysmic year.  Profound changes.  I’m not the same person I was when I wrote those proposals.  I feel I need to start from where I am now – wherever that is, and I’m not even pretending that I know.

So as uncomfortable as I am about it, I am not jumping into the first thing that I think of, or the first thing that pleases me but that might not be a big enough book.    I am waiting. I am meditating.    I am reading randomly.   I am paying attention to dream images, songs, people, that catch my attention.    And I am taking my own writing advice.   I am making lists.

On my own blog, at the prompting of a reader, I have started a gargantuan series on “How to Write A Novel, From Start To Finish.”   (No, I never once said I wasn’t insane).

And I’m doing it for ME as much as anyone. 

I’ve already done four or five posts on just generating that perfect idea  – and I intend to do several more –  because this is a part of the writing process that people rarely spend enough time on, and is crucial if you want to develop a riveting book, even more crucial if you have any hope of being paid to write. You are going to spend two years of your life, minimum, on this book (and that’s truly a minimum). 

So that brings us to the eternal question:   

How DO you get your ideas?

When people ask this of authors, many of us tend to clam up or worse, get sarcastic – because the only real answer to that is, “Where DON’T I get ideas?” or even more to the point, “How do I turn these ideas OFF?”

The thing is, “Where do you get your ideas?” is not the real question these people are asking. The real question is “How do you go from an idea to a coherent story line that holds up – and holds a reader’s interest – for 400 pages of a book?”

Or more concisely: “How do you come up with your PREMISES?”

We all have story ideas all the time. Even non-writers, and non-aspiring writers – I truly mean, EVERYONE, has story ideas all the time. Those story ideas are called daydreams, or fantasies, or often “Porn starring me and Edward Cullen, or me and Stringer Bell,” (or maybe both. Wrap your mind around that one for a second…)

But you see what I mean.

We all create stories in our own heads all the time, minimal as some of our – uh – plot lines may be.

A better question is “What’s a GOOD story idea?”

I see two essential ingredients:

a) What idea gets you excited enough to spend a year (or most likely more) of your life completely immersed in it –

and

b) Gets other people excited enough about it to buy it and read it and even maybe possibly make it into a movie or TV series with an amusement park ride spinoff and a Guess clothing line based on the story?

a) is good if you just want to write for yourself.

But b) is essential if you want to be a professional writer.

As many of you know, I’m all about learning by making lists. Because let’s face it – we have to trick ourselves into writing, every single day, and what could be simpler and more non-threatening than making a list? Anything to avoid the actual rest of it!

So here are two lists I encourage my workshop students to do to get those ideas flowing, which I am now doing for myself.

List # 1: Make a list of all your story ideas.
 
This is a great exercise because it gets your subconscious churning and invites it to choose what it truly wants to be working on. Your subconscious knows WAY more than you do about writing. None of us can do the kind of deep work that writing is all on our own. And with a little help from the Universe you could find yourself writing the next Harry Potter or Twilight.   That’s my plan, anyway.  

Also this exercise gives you an overall idea of what your THEMES are as a writer (and very likely the themes you have as a person). I absolutely believe that writers only have about six or seven themes that they’re dealing with over and over and over again. It’s my experience that your writing improves exponentially when you become more aware of the themes that you’re working with.

You may be amazed, looking over this list that you’ve generated, how much overlap there is in theme (and in central characters, hero/ines and villains, and dynamics between characters, and tone of endings).

You may even find that two of your story ideas, or a premise line plus a character from a totally different premise line, might combine to form a bigger, more exciting idea.

But in any case, you should have a much better idea at the end of the exercise of what turns you on as a writer, and what would sustain you emotionally over the long process of writing a novel.

Then just let that percolate for a while. Give yourself a little time for the right idea to take hold of you.  We all know what that feels like – it’s a little like falling in love.

List # 2: The Master List

The other list I always encourage my workshop students to do is a list of your ten (at least) favorite movies and books in the genre that you’re writing, or if you don’t have a premise yet, ten movies and books that you WISH you had written.

It’s good to compare and contrast your idea list with this IDEAL list.

So that’s another thing I’ve been doing again for myself.   Here’s part of it, in no particular order.

Rosemary’s Baby
Silence of the Lambs
Alice in Wonderland
The Haunting of Hill House (book and film)
The Shining (book and film)
Room with a View (film)
Withnail and I
A Wrinkle in Time
The Witching Hour
Pet Sematery
Hamlet
Arcadia
Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead
The Fountainhead
Atlas Shrugged
Notorious
Vertigo
Suspicion
Rebecca (book and film)
Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None
It (the book)
Bringing Up Baby
The Thin Man
The Little Foxes
The Children’s Hour
Pride and Prejudice
Bridget Jones’ Diary (book and film)
The Wire
Deadwood
Mad Men
I, Claudius
Fawlty Towers
Rome
Philadelphia Story
It’s A Wonderful Life
Groundhog Day
The Breakfast Club
Poltergeist
The Stand (book)
Carrie (book and film)

I included my favorite TV, and I could go into musicals, too, but I’ll spare you. Well, except I have to mention Sweeny Todd. And Phantom of the Opera. And Chicago. And…

And on the myth and fairy tale front:

Ariadne (Theseus and the Minotaur)
East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Eros and Psyche
Beauty and the Beast (all three of those last are the same story, essentially).
The Handless Maiden
The Yellow Dwarf
1001 Nights
Sleeping Beauty

Now, that’s a BIG list, of all-time favorites that I see/read over and over and over again, and it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.  And on the surface, it seems to have a lot of disparate genres there. But there are underlying commonalities that are very specific to my own taste (and I’m the only one who can truly say what those are, just as you are the only one who can say what your emotional preferences are).

What do I see about that list?

Dark dark dark dark dark…. Except for the romantic comedies and swoony Room With A View.

Lots of horror, but more psychological than gory. Lots of psychological thrillers. Some adventure fantasy and fantasy fantasy. The Stoppard is about trippy extra-dimensional occurrences, plus he’s a genius. Actually that goes for Shakespeare, too, extra-dimensionally. Lots of psychology – the Lillian Hellman plays are dramas, but very dark ones that explore ordinary and completely chilling human evil. I especially like human evil so big it seems almost supernatural (as in Silence of the Lambs and Rebecca). Withnail and I is a flat-out drug movie, and has the British comedy of chaos I so love in Fawlty Towers. Lots of sex, or at least, the sex is part of what I love about a lot of those choices. (The Wire and Deadwood, for example…). Lots of Cary Grant. Oh, right, that would be sex.

What are some of the themes and subthemes of these stories? (For me, personally, I mean, and not trying to be too analytical about it – just spewing:)

Good vs. evil (and good usually triumphing, ambiguously). Inability to distinguish the supernatural from reality. Inter-dimensionality. Erotic tension. Loss of control (and that absolutely includes the comedies on there – Fawlty Towers, Bringing Up Baby, Withnail and I, are complete rollercoaster rides of hysteria.) What is reality? Man Must Not Meddle. The deal wit
h the devil. What it means to be a hero or heroine. Unlikely heroes and heroines. Coming to terms (or not) with one’s extraordinary gifts. Disparate people uniting to accomplish something as a team. A man and a woman who don’t trust each other having to work together, discovering they are divinely matched.

And even more importantly, what FEELING am I looking for when I read and watch these stories? What EXPERIENCE am I looking for? Again, this may be the most important indicator of what genre you’re writing in.

I like a lot of sensation in my stories. That is, I want a story to make me experience a lot of sensation. And not easy, light, fun sensations either, for the most part. Fear, thrills, doubt, sex, urgency, loss of control, violent surprise. I love the overwhelming feeling of having something huge, possibly supernatural, going on around me (in the form of the characters I’m projecting myself onto). Something evil, even, but so powerful and mesmerizing I have to explore it, understand it. And that can be a situation, as in Rosemary’s Baby or The Shining, or a person, as in The Children’s Hour. I want a sense of cosmic wonder. I want a sense that good does conquer evil, that good people can make a difference, but without sugar coating. I like a lot of game playing, matching wits (Philadelphia Story, Thin Man, Silence of the Lambs).

So, what I write is psychological horror, or supernatural thriller, or supernatural mystery, or psychological thrillers with an extra-dimensional twist. And while that sometimes makes my books frustratingly hard to categorize (in libraries, for example…) it also has branded me in a way that has been useful to me as an author, and that I’m pretty obligated to stick with now.    Let’s face it – I’m not going to suddenly resurrect the chick lit genre.   And in a happy non-coincidence, what I’m looking for in a book is what my readers read my books for, or so they tell me.  

So this week as I make my lists (and finish that damn book), I am concentrating on the FEELING of my next book, and letting the details come as they will.

I hope.

Authors, my question for the day is – What are you trying to make your reader or audience FEEL? Horror? Thrills? The glow of romance? The adrenaline and exhilaration of adventure?

And readers, what are you hoping a book will make you feel?

– Alex

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PS.  The Price was released in the UK this week, from Little, Brown:

 

Buy it here…

 

 

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54 thoughts on “What’s the next book?

  1. PK the Bookeemonster

    Hmmm, when I read I want to feel the opposite of "this is silly". I want to learn something; I want the world building to be so immersive that I’ll sometimes look up from the book and be startled. I want to feel smart and in the know. I want to feel that I’m friends with the good ones. I want to feel the "yeah!" at the end.
    Not much, I know. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  2. billie

    I noticed on your blog that you have undertaken a huge writing extravaganza – love it so far! I am still waiting for Kindle for Mac, or else for my husband to buy me an actual Kindle. He is already smitten with the iPad though so I may have to wait for that…

    Your question about what we want readers to feel is perfect for where I am right now. What I aim for is transformation – not just for the characters, although that is there too. I want the reader to feel personally transformed in some important way due to having engaged with the story and the characters.

    The interesting angle to this goal is that it makes the read a different one than escape, or pleasure – it requires a deeper level of engagement from the reader, and elicits strong feelings, and not everyone wants that.

    Which is okay! I’m finally getting to the place where I am shedding the need to try and fit what I’m writing into someone else’s idea of what will sell. A personal victory, if not necessarily one that will earn a living! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. ZoΓ« Sharp

    Hi Alex

    A wonderful, informative, invaluable post, as always. And yeah, you ARE definitely getting enough done, girl!

    Brilliant timing for me, as well, because I’m nearing the end of my next Charlie Fox book, and the next project is beginning to loom. I shall be making the list you recommend and see what crops up.

    Thank you ;-]

    Oh, and many congrats on the new book!

    Reply
  4. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Alex – how the hell did you know that I needed this post, right here, right now? I am exactly at this point in my life. I am fumbling around in my head, looking for that magical idea that will grow into my next book. I’ve decided to write down a list of books and films that I like, and to describe the tone and moral nature of the things that really move me. I thought this was such an original idea, and then you sweep in and tell me how to really get things done! This is perfect. Your blog has become my assignment for the weekend. Thanks for giving me a road map.
    And thanks for all your great comments yesterday, too. I’m still going to plan that blues night at the club by the beach, by the way. The world has got to see you dance.

    Reply
  5. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Steve, that would be because we’re actually the same person.

    Blues at the beach, hell yeah. Maybe we can make that happen around LCC so it can be a real party.

    (You’d like the dancing I’m doing this weekend, actually….)

    Reply
  6. Alexandra Sokoloff

    LU, I think it’s fascinating how guilt drives your books. The least likely person to ever have hurt anyone badly enough to carry guilt for anything…

    Not that that ever has anything to do with how we feel…

    Reply
  7. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    And here’s my theory about Louise and guilt: I think she’s one of those "soccer moms" that the FBI swoops down and arrests after they discover she was helping to hide Abbie Hoffman when he was running from the law. I mean, come on, she settled in San Francisco and appears to be the picture of innocence. She’s con-artist all the way, man.

    Reply
  8. anonymous

    I know, huh. Louise is so nice and sweet and smart. She MUST be hiding SOMEthing. Add this to Alex’s list of ideas to explore………….the dark side of Louise Ure

    Reply
  9. Eika

    Okay, the list of all the ideas didn’t do anything for me, but I suddenly GOT IT when you suggested listing all the books and movies you love. Except I added video games as well.

    Spoiler Alert (obligated to put that): in the game Kingdom Hearts, there are three friends, and that is the most important part of the game. Because, right near the beginning, they get separated. The gimmick for the enterprise is that it’s a Disney and Square game, so people expected great stories with Disney characters, so the hero winds up traveling around with Donald and Goofy. His best friend, who throughout the entire beginning is just a bit older, wiser, smarter, stronger, and in every way better than him… is picked up by Maleficent, the evil witch in Sleeping Beauty. And for the rest of the game, that best friend goes around thinking he’s doing the right thing, the best thing, and being a good person while being totally evil.

    In fact, almost all of the stories I chose had some sort of element like that: good people who do bad things. Bad people who do good things. Lying and betrayals that happen for all the right reasons. Guess I know what I’ll be writing.

    Reply
  10. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Whoa, Elka – that storyline makes ME want to play that game.

    I do love that kind of moral ambiguity. So rare to find, so hard to pull off. There’s an early Richard Loncraine movie I just love, with a mouthwatering young Sting as the lead, called Brimstone and Treacle. It’s twisted, but makes you think….

    Reply
  11. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I can’t BELIEVE you met Abbie Hoffman. I’m so envious. That’s like meeting Jack Kerouac or Ken Kesey. An iconic figure.

    Reply
  12. alli

    Thanks for this fabulous and timely post. I’m about to embark on a new MS and those lists will help me immensely.

    As a reader: I want to be taken to another place, walk away richer in knowledge and mourn the end of the book because I’m saying goodbye to people I’ve come attached to. I love surprises – but only ones that come "naturally" in the story – not a surprise that is manufactured to make me laugh or reel in shock. I don’t like being manipulated. I like to find reasons to root for the protag I wouldn’t necessarily hang out with in real life.

    As a writer: I want my readers to be surprised with twists and turns they never saw coming. I want them to love the protag and her/his counterparts – and loathe them for just a moment. I want the reader to think they would like to be best mates with this person. The romance needs to be strong but not easy – something that helps the protags grow but will keep them on their toes for the rest of their relationship.

    Reply
  13. anonymous

    Reader here. Made my list of stuff I like. At first I thought I was all over the place with books. Paranormal, police procedural, classic Brit mystery, detective noir, psychological thriller, I thought it was practically everything. Favorite movie? Sling Blade. But sure enough. When I looked at the themes? I saw what it is. I dig evil. The psych stuff. I just finished a book by Greg Iles about torture and dog fighting. Almost 600 pages of sheer sick-to-my-stomach fear and dread from all of the things the bad guy was getting away with. I wanted to walk away from it so many times……but DID I? Nah. Had to KNOW that the good guy wins in the end. Favorite mystery writers? (Besides The Murderati Gang) Ruth Rendell and P.D. James. Sick stuff there. The "whydunit" gals. Lovely!

    There was a local double murder not too long ago that I have been following in the news and in court. It has me very intrigued. They had no perp for the longest time. Then the detectives went to work and found a pretty good suspect. The guy charged with the murders is the son of the victims. It was a very BRUTAL murder. They think with a knife but can’t find a weapon. Blood everywhere. Vics in p.j.s. He is suspected of doing it for financial gain. Gambling debts he had. Professional poker. Man, when you look at the guy’s face you just KNOW that he’s crazy! I His folks are murdered and he was SMILING in court, for kryst’s sake. I want to write about this soooo badly. But I can’t. I’m a READER, hello! I can’t write. BUT, thanks to Alex, I at least know WHY I read the shit that I do. Evil, Baby. Pure psychological evil. Shudder.

    Reply
  14. toni mcgee causey

    God, Alex, what a brilliant post. I now know what to answer when people ask that question. (Or, rather, where to point them.)

    I love the list of favorites–that is helpful on so many levels.

    Billie’s word — transformation — is what I’m seeking. My themes tend to be finding self, accepting self against all odds, finding where to draw the line between obligation and self-preservation, what is honor? and is there such a thing as unconditional love?

    In my new work, I’m looking at what I sort of blithely termed the underbelly of my previous books, where this one is dark and in some places, tragic, and explores the pain of not having the love she wanted, facing up to what she did to destroy it, and learning just what evil lay within her family and what destruction they caused that changed her life forever. While it’s a similar setting, it’s new characters and the tone is completely different, because I wanted the freedom to go dark and horrifying and not pull punches. We’ll see if I manage it.

    I know what you mean about not being the same person as a year ago. I think it’s so wise of you to see that–it’s a hard thing, to walk away from stories already laid out like an easy buffet and, instead, go back to the kitchen and start pulling out complex ingredients all over again. I know in my own stuff, it’s tempting to write the one I know instead of listening to that gut instinct that I need to keep pushing, dig deeper. Writing, itself, isn’t always hard work. People sometimes crave macaroni and cheese. Writing deeply, though, is hard, complex and scary, because you have to juggle just the right portions of ingredients and heat… but the results are memorable for a lifetime.

    Reply
  15. JD Rhoades

    I think guilt is a common thread running through all my books as well. Guilt and madness. Jack Keller’s not what anyone would call a paragon of mental health, and Tony Wolf’s mind is warped by extreme (if justified) paranoia.

    Also I seem to keep coming p with characters who have been maimed in some way. I don’t know what to make of that.

    Reply
  16. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Whoa, Toni, that comment was a blog all itself. You articulate your themes beautifully, and they’re not necessarily ones you run into all the time.

    The new book sounds GREAT – I’ll be first in line for that one. And you’re right, it is so damn hard not to go for the already almost written… but I’m just not feeling it. Oh well, no one ever said this was easy.

    Reply
  17. BCB

    Alex, I’ve read this post three times now and saw different things in it each time. But something was nagging at me, like I’d missed something important. And it finally just clicked with me that I’ve been focusing on creating something (a theme?) in the current work that doesn’t matter to me. I think that’s why I’ve been struggling with finishing it. I’ve been trying to write something I don’t want to write. Or read. And not focusing enough on the themes I DO enjoy reading/watching. There are several in there, of course, but I’d somehow convinced myself this other theme "had to" be in there too. It doesn’t. Wow, is that freeing.

    I feel like a huge weight was just lifted off my shoulders. The prospect of spending the rest of the weekend writing suddenly doesn’t feel so much like work. Seriously, I’ve been dreading writing time. Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Dusty, you too with the guilt? What IS that? I know you’re not Catholic…

    Madness, yeah, that comes up a bit for me, too…. πŸ˜‰

    And JT – actually, you can have Edward. Just give me Stringer.

    Reply
  19. toni mcgee causey

    Surprised the hell out of me that the actor who played Stringer Bell was British. (I had also been surprised previously with learning that Macmulty was British, too.) And now, I’ve been watching LIFE on HULU and then found out this actor, Damian Lewis, is also British. Damned amazing acting, all.

    Reply
  20. Robert Gregory Browne

    God, I know that don’t-know-what-to-write-next feeling so well. Between my SMP books, then shifting to Dutton, I went through that panic that I had completely run out of ideas — which is ridiculous, I have hundreds of them. But nothing jumped out at me and made me want to put my ass in the chair.

    Now I have so many things I WANT to write but I don’t have time for them.

    In answer to your question about what I’m trying to make readers feel, I want them to feel everything you listed and more. I want them to pick up a book and get so lost in it that they skip sleep until they’re done, or they go on vacation and STAY IN THE ROOM to read just one more chapter.

    I know I can’t succeed on that level with everyone. But I can certainly try… πŸ™‚

    Reply
  21. Alafair Burke

    I envy your ability to articulate your process. I can’t begin to describe mine. I seemingly squander months just thinking and thinking and then suddenly a few things click into place and I’m ready to write. I think you’re right that it’s not just story that matters, but deciding for yourself on a feeling. I like it.

    Reply
  22. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Ooh, yes, Toni, lots of Brits in THE WIRE. MacNulty/Dominic West I’ve been watching for years, even in bad Shakespeare. Was thrilled to see him break out over here.

    They just know how to teach American accents over there.

    Reply
  23. anonymous

    Scaring YOU!! How do you think I felt after seeing The Price trailer!!!! (It was perfect, by the way, really good)

    I like to be scared a bit and then realize that there is a rational mind in the protag and that the good will somehow diffuse the evil…..eventually. Until the next time.

    We never really get rid of evil, right? It’s out there…..watching us.

    Reality evil is scarier to me than metaphysical evil. The characters who walk around among us while plotting and stalking and kidnaping and torturing and murdering and dismembering and burying. What the cops and forensic teams see every day just gives me the "willies".

    I need the good to triumph. It makes me feel safe.

    Reply
  24. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Alafair, that’s really more like what it feels like! I guess I learned how to articulate process when I was teaching dance, oddly enough. It’s not enough to show people yourself, you have to be able to describe the FEELING that they’re going for. It’s a lot of metaphor, actually, surprisingly.

    Reply
  25. BCB

    Well, I’m also feeling a bit dense, Alex. You know darn well it’s not the first, or even second, time I’ve heard you say this. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or I wasn’t ready to hear it before. It’s a little scary to think about what else I’ve missed because I wasn’t ready to learn it.

    Something for you other bloggers to keep in mind — just because you all have already written about something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it again. There’s so much to learn about writing, it’s overwhelming. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe other writers don’t need to be hit over the head with something sixteen times before it sinks in…

    Spent some time treadmill-thinking and mentally adjusting the plot (HA! minor changes) and off to write now. SO HAPPY I don’t have to set up a resolution/conclusion I didn’t believe in. The writing won’t "fly" — I’m a slow writer — but I can see the end. For the first time, I know how it ends.

    Reply
  26. BCB

    Anon wrote: "The characters who walk around among us while plotting and stalking and kidnaping and torturing and murdering and dismembering and burying."

    Um, I think you just described most writers…

    πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  27. Tom

    So much courage among you all!

    What I’d like my readers to feel is, first, that I haven’t wasted their time; second, that I’ve pointed them in the direction of some beauty not noticed before; third, that there’s some realistic hope in the midst of struggle.

    Had a breakthrough at the day job with a process that has had me by the tail for at least two years. I never could see the forest, the fence around it, or the pickets in the fence in any way that made sense. What changed? I had to mind-map it. outline it, detail it, describe it in training material, for other people who will come after me on this job. I find I trained myself . . .

    Yes, some lessons, it seems, we must repeat until we change enough to learn. Got a ways to go on that one.

    Reply
  28. Barbie

    If I wouldn’t need to sleep in my mom’s bed for the rest of the year — and, mind you, I’m 21 — I’d definitely read this book. I’m somewhat (as in totally) a ‘fraidy cat. But seems awesome!

    Reply
  29. anonymous

    Barbie. Very funny. Yes. Alex’s trailer is scary. It scared ME and I am 59!! The premise behind "The Price"…..the infinite soul search. You need to read it and trust that Alex will keep you safe. You’re one of the good ones. ; – }

    Reply
  30. Melanie

    I LOVED this post. I’m in the plotting stages of a new wip and I’m so enamored with my idea that I’m afraid to start writing until I have the perfect plot. I’ve written a couple pages that I adore, and your suggestions have really got my mind working. Thank you.

    Reply

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