Thursday, November 29, 2007


I’m starting a new book right now, or at least sifting through three solid ideas to come up with what I want to write next.
Apparently this time it means writing the first chapter and a rough plot outline for each idea to really get a sense for where I want to go with this next book.

For me each new book is a crossroads. I have to decide going in what I want the book to be, and how far I want to take certain elements.
I remember at an editor panel, one of the editors (St. Martins) described the kind of books they were looking for as really books. She explained she was looking for books that were either really, really emotional, or really, really suspenseful, or really, really, sexy, but they had to have a very strong footing in one thing.
At the time the explanation just frustrated me. Of course we want our books to be really emotional and sexy and suspenseful, shit, we’re trying to be everything.

Now I get it. Very few writers can be everything, but we can choose to do something really, really well. This kind of relates back to Molly’s commitment post from a couple of weeks ago.

I also know as an unpublished author, if I write a book and have the good fortune to sell it, I need to know I can write several more in a similar style, so I had better love writing this kind of book.

So as I sit down to start a new book, I have to figure out what kind of book I’m going to write and commit completely to it.
Five books into this whole writing thing, I have a strong idea of what elements I’m better at, what kind of stories I like to write.
So if I’m going to write dark and suspenseful, I had better make it really, really dark and suspenseful.
Because that’s the kind of book I want to write. Because in the end I’d rather get rejected for going too far, rather than not going far enough.
That is, if I have to get rejected.
At this point, I’m not thinking rejections, I’m just thinking about writing a book that’s better than the last and wholly, completely represents the best writing I’m capable of producing.
I'm also thinking about Razor and Battlestar Galactica. Did anyone else see it and love it as much as I did?


Abby said...

I'm almost where you are - I'm brainstorming my next book and committed to starting January 1. Interesting thoughts.

Oh, and Michelle Forbes is God. The worst thing they ever did was kill off Admiral Cain. Love her!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I love that you can get a Battlestar Gallactica reference in every post...

I totally get your rationale -- I get it and I understand it, but the devil's advocate in me is saying -- how do you know? How do you know it's not dark enough? Who has that kind of perspective? I know you have to trust your gut - we all do -- but my gut sends mixed messages all the time. About my work, anyway. What I am saying is I think you should trust my gut on your work. Or Maureen's. Probably Maureen's. Clearly we need to talk about this over some drinks...

Anonymous said...

Molly, clearly we do need drinks. And I definitely trust your gut and Maureen's...

Abby, Michelle Forbes is amazing, she made Cain such a complex, believable character out of someone who could have been one dimensionally evil.
And everyone else. Somehow Battlestar and FNL manage to get the most believably, wonderfully understated actors.

And just in case I haven't gushed enough, speaking of committment, I love how Battlestar commits so wonderfully to such a dark and bleak canvas.

I have such a long time to wait till the 4th season..

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts.

I guess I'm going the emotional route just by my definition of what a good romance novel is. I figure it makes a reader either cry or laugh or perhaps do both.

I see Google, those anti-competitive b**tards, have changed the Blogger settings, not allowing name links to outside the Google universe.

Well, h***, then I'll link in the body of the comments.

Kimber Chin

Kimber Chin said...

Ha ha (evil laughter)...
I am even more tricksy than Google.
(rubbing my hands together).

K J Gillenwater said...

I love me some BSG. Although "Razor" confused me a bit b/c I am NOT good at remembering specific plotlines and characters and all that for months and months on end. And this 2-hour show assumed I could remember exactly where Season 2 left off and Season 3 picked up. Eeek!

I will admit, I was a bit confused with some of the 'where are the characters now emotionally' rather than where they REALLY are emotionally at the end of Season 3...does that make sense?

I had a hard time remembering all the s**t that went down before Michelle Forbes's character was dead.

Anyone else in this boat?

But I enjoyed it. And I liked the new idea of there being an inbetween kind of Cylon. Also, what the Cylon in the tank revealed to the XO at the very end about Starbuck.

Can't wait for the new season to start! Writers' strike, please don't ruin it for me!!!!!

Oh, and I guess I should comment on the writing stuff. I agree, hard to pick just ONE genre to be good at sometimes. And what happens if it is easier for you to write in one genre, but your heart wants to write something else??? What do you do then??

Maureen McGowan said...

Great post and I have missed that Razor thing. Damn it.
And I haven't seen Season 3 yet, so probably wouldn't have had the issues Kristen had.

I need some DWT. Although at our last session I declared I knew what kind of writer I wanted to be... when I sobered up, I wasn't so sure. GAH. Need help. Need drinks. Now.

Anonymous said...

Kristin, I'm a BSG fanatic and the Cain episodes were some of my favourite, so I kind of got where the characters were.
But if you ever really wanted an in depth analysis, Television without pity did one.. but it's a ton of reading.

Kimber, you're funny, glad you managed to trick google.. and that you know what kind of stories you want to write.

For me to figure it out I had to have many, many Drunk writer talks with Maureen and Molly, and need another soon.

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