So yesterday I started writing the first chapter of the second book of my Nerds of Paradise series, Chaos Theory. I spent the whole first part of the week writing the outline. I have a long, complex outlining process based on Patti Larsen’s outlining method. It really works for me, even though it’s long an complex. But when it comes to writing that first chapter, I always feel like I struggle a little.
Now mind you, it’s not because I don’t know what I want to write. The beauty of my outlining process is that I know exactly what I need to write every day when I sit down in front of the computer. What hangs me up is that I know so much information before I start that it’s all crowding into the front of my brain. I know all the issues and back story that the characters have, and I’m always all-too aware of the need to make sure I say everything that needs to be said.
And then there’s the fact that I usually discover so much more about the characters as I go on. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve planned a book out in advance, once those characters hit the ground and start interacting, I learn things about them. For instance, the hero of Chaos Theory, Will Darling, is super straight-laced, due to growing up in a military family with a father who saw him more as a way to vicariously achieve his dreams than as a son. Wow! That’s some meaty stuff! But I know there’s something else in there that I’ll uncover as I go along and plunge his careful world into the chaos of Melody Clutterbuck!
But it isn’t all bad. I love what I do. And I have fabulous assistants to help me do it. Lately, as my new baby (new as of mid-December) Justine has fully adjusted to being in a new environment with a strange new human mommy and a grumpy old man feline roommate. Torpedo still isn’t over the death of his sister, Butterfly (December 1st), and this weird new kitten has WAY too much energy for him, so if he’s just not feeling it, he’ll swat at her or chase her. But when he isn’t in a mood to care, they coexist quite nicely.
These days, when I sit down on my couch with my laptop to write, it’s one on one side and the other on the other. I’d love to get a pic of all of us together, but they sit just too far apart for that kind of a selfie to work. But it creates a very peaceful, fuzzy writing environment. And yes, I get yelled at—by Torpedo—when I get up to do something else. But I talk right back to him, so it’s all good!