I’m privileged to host the debut of her second book in the Anya Kalinczyk series: SPARKS. Anya is an arson investigator with a most unusual familiar.
Let me tell you, you’ll never think about fire salamanders in the same way.
Please welcome Laura and make her feel at home. I just love the post she wrote for us today. As a special treat, I’m giving my own copy of Sparks to a random commenter who says what being in love means to them.
Initially, there’s infatuation. The flush and excitement of a new idea. This is the easy part – words flow effortlessly. I can spend hours researching or daydreaming about how fabulous the idea is. I make notes, sketches, maps, cut clippings from magazines – I’ve met my characters, and am deliriously in love with everything they say. The project is, I believe, invincible.
It brings me flowers. I glow.
Then, somewhere around the 30,000 word mark, the infatuation fades. I begin to see the flaws, the inconsistencies, the cracks in the foundation of plot. I’m rolling over in the morning and staring at a book with bad breath that snores. It chews with its mouth open and forgets to say “excuse me” when it farts. It doesn’t bring me flowers anymore. It’s comfortable. Maybe too comfortable.
I sit in bed, staring at the book, wondering what to do. Should I abandon it for a newer, sexier idea? They’re always dancing around in my periphery, seductively whispering: “Choose me.”
But I know that it would be the same. I can choose another idea, but in a few weeks, I’ll be at the same place, the shiny newness and rose petals replaced by snores and scratching.
At this time, I’ve got to decide to be committed to the project, to see it through — even though my story is showing me its scraggly, unwashed underbelly. The challenge is to fall into a routine of writing that isn’t new or exhilarating — it’s to focus on the entirety of the work, good and bad, and love it enough to finish.
There are moments that test my patience. A character proves utterly useless around 50,000 words and is savagely eliminated. A timeline problem emerges that requires my heroine to be in two places at once. A loose plot thread dangles with no end in sight. But we get through it.
There are moments that are sublime. Keystrokes fly by through the last chapter. Edits clean the story up nicely, and all of a sudden, my story is standing before me. It’s shaved, holding a bouquet of flowers.
I feel the old love for it again. Not the infatuation of the beginning. But deep affection, knowing that we’ve weathered the writing process and have come out the other side of it victorious.
I straighten its tie, kiss it on the cheek, and send it out into the world. I hope that others will love it as much as I do.
-Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. More information on her urban fantasy novels is available at www.salamanderstales.com.