I've been doing the discovery stage of my new romantic intrigue/suspense, and it has been a lot of fun this time around. I don't have my usual angst going into the new story that I've always had in the past. And that is thanks to Lani Diane Rich. I took her Discovery Class, which runs over six weeks, and came away from it with not just her step by step guidance but a new understanding of myself and my work. I'm a visual learner and that's one of the reason's Lani's classes helped me. I could see her talking, hear her talking, laugh along with her and the other participants. It was just like a classroom, except I didn't have to get dressed or drive anywhere.
One major thing I took away from the course was, I never thought I needed a soundtrack. Maybe just a CD that provided mood. I always have soft music playing and I love all kinds of music, so good enough, right? Wrong. When I made the soundtrack and chose music specific to my characters it changed everything about that story. It ramped up my writing skills, it ramped up my love of my characters, it resonated with me on so many levels. I did the rewrite of my last story, using Lani's techniques, and it came to life in full color. And I'm not an aural learner. Usually I need peace and quiet. Yet, that soundtrack opened me up, it allowed me to get inside my characters thoughts, and to embrace an important aspect of writing that had never spoken to me before.
For me it's always kind of hard to say goodbye to the characters in my latest story because I've come to love them, and I've enjoyed being a part of their emotional and physical journey. Those heroes and heroines consumed so much of my life you'd think they were relatives, and they kind of are. I made them. I made them up in my thoughts and then I transcribed them onto paper. How cool is that?
Now on to the next story and the next hero and heroine. Where to start? Research of course. The blank page beckons. I could stare at it, try to develop new characters, new plot, new love interest, new conflict, new internal and external motivation, and, make it all believable to the reader while pulling my hair out and drinking copious cups of coffee. Nope. This time around, no computer, at least in the early stage. I've gone out into nature and thought my thoughts. I've carried my notebook. After brainstorming with my critique partner, Gina, in the pool at National conference, a new story came to me. I've put aside Dia Sophia, the story I discovered and researched in Lani's class. I'll get to her later.
I now have a title for the new work, a yummy hero, and my heroine who is a spin off from a secondary character in the last story, and they are blooming and coming to life as I walk the dog. Yet they're still in my head. I've done no writing. I have done a soundtrack and almost completed a collage, I have my main casting done, their backstory floats into and out of my thoughts as I go about my daily life listening to their music. This is a strange and unusual way for me to process story but it's working all on its own. It's all humming along. Next week a friend and I are going on location. We'll hike the desolate land that will be a backdrop for the suspense. We'll take photographs. We'll eat in some divy little cafe, we'll visit an abandoned cabin that will become the house the heroine's father left her when he died. I'm beginning to see the villian and understand the part he plays in her life. It's all coming together faster than I can keep up with it, yet still I don't write.
This is all good. Next week I'll be primed and ready, and I'll hit the ground running.