Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Big Moment

I started writing the synopsis -- the summary of the plot -- for book five of my series yesterday, and I wasn't really prepared for the emotional impact that would have on me. There's a big plot point/revelation that I've hinted at in the rest of the series, and this is when it all comes out. I first came up with the idea in the back of my head when I was still writing the first draft of Enchanted, Inc., but it's something I've mostly kept to myself. I still have a copy of an e-mail I sent to my friend Rosa, the one who had read the book chapter-by-chapter as I wrote it, where I described the whole thing, the backstory, and how I thought it would work into the series itself, but she's the only person I ever told any of it, which means that there isn't anyone now who knows where I've been going with the story. None of my editors know, and my agent doesn't even know. Mom doesn't know. Aside from talking to Rosa about it some about three years ago, it's only been in my head.

And yesterday I had to write it, at least enough to tell how it would come up in the course of the book. It was kind of like saying something out loud, and that making it somehow more "real." I almost couldn't do it. I'd written the synopsis up to that point in about half an hour because I had that part of the book pretty well outlined. Then I got to that part and went into procrastination mode for about an hour. When I finally buckled down to make myself write it, I was literally shaking. If they buy this book, I'll probably need serious therapy to actually write that part of the book, but I think it will be good and very powerful (because sometimes torturing characters is fun!).

I hadn't re-read that e-mail in years, so it was interesting to see how my ideas have changed after writing three more books. I'd planned to deal with all of this in book 4, but went in a different direction with my plans for the series. Once Upon Stilettos was actually a combination of my originally planned books two and three, and most of books three and four were like nothing I'd imagined at the beginning. Book 5 is largely what I'd been planning all along for what I thought would be book 4 (one of the major plot ideas came from a silly conversation with Rosa at a science fiction convention in early 2005), but there are still some differences. There are more nuances with other characters involved now. It means something different to me now because I know the people so much better.

And now that I've passed that point, I have to figure out what happens next. I know the ending, but I'm not entirely sure how to get there. I figured out an idea as I was falling asleep last night, but then when I started thinking about it this morning, it made no sense whatsoever, so either I should have written it down then because I remembered it wrong, or it was the kind of idea that only makes sense when you're half-asleep.

I'm supposed to be getting page proofs on Damsel Under Stress today. Funny, I'd planned to be taking this week mostly off, but I'm working more than usual, since I'm cramming in a marathon of House episodes for an essay I'm working on, writing book proposals and now proofreading a book. I think I'm going to have to delay my trip to the parents' house for the holidays by at least a day so I can get the work done and not spend the weekend and the holiday feeling like I should be working. I do still need to have my own personal "office party," so at some point this week I plan to hike up the hill to the theater and see The Holiday as my little treat. Otherwise, it's work, work, work.

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