The Writer’s Life

So I’m talking to an old friend today, Anne Zender, from Chicago. We are attending the Association Media & Publishing annual conference in Washington, D.C. We were AM&P board members together years ago, so we both know a lot about magazine publishing. She learned about my novel through AM&P’s Signature magazine and asked me what it was like to write a novel. After I explained it was a hell of a lot different from journalism, she suggested I write about the writer’s life.

Her first question was, “How do you do it?”

So here goes. I do it at 5 a.m. each day. Until 7 a.m., maybe 7:30 a.m. Then it’s off to work.

It comes easier and is more exciting when my plot is solid. Right now, working on book two in the series, the plot is not complete. It’s almost there, but I’m trying to figure out some new twists. Still trying move the plot from A to B and then C, of course. My plots are about intrigue. I’m not about crazy car chase scenes and I will never–ever–end a novel with the protagonist and antagonist fighting it out, mano a mano, in some dark (always dark) deserted warehouse or rusting crust of a vacant factory. How many novels and movies have ended that way? The cliche drives me nuts.

So for the next few weeks I’ll still be slaving away on the plot. Once I get that down, my first “draft” will be done. But it’s not really a draft at all. It’s simply the plot, which will change as the real writing begins. That is rewriting. That’s the fun part. I love writing second, third and fourth drafts. Each stage is a lot different from the previous one. More on that later.