Monday, November 08, 2010

Coming up Empty

I’ve decided to take a break from Molly Smith for now (Look for Among the Departed in May) and write a standalone for Poisoned Pen Press. The next Klondike book, Gold Mountain, is at my critique group receiving critique (not too harsh I hope).

And I sit poised over my computer, awaiting inspiration.

It ain’t coming.

Usually at the beginning of a new project my mind is humming with activity for weeks before. Ideas for characters, names (nod to Hannah), details of the setting, rough plot points. This time, pretty much not. I don’t even have the main character’s name, which is a big thing for me. Unlike Rick mentioned in the comments to Hannah’s post on names, I never begin a book without the protagonist’s name, and I’ve never changed a name once I’ve settled on it.

As I typed the above sentence, something occurred to me – perhaps I can’t get started on this book because I don’t have a clear idea of my protagonist. If she doesn’t have a name, then she isn’t real. The question then becomes, why isn’t she taking shape in my mind? Is it because after writing seven series books since my last standalone I’m not used to making up a protagonist from scratch?

Maybe I’m getting burned out. I’ve been on blog tour for a couple of weeks and writing constantly about myself, and trying to make me and my books sound interesting is a heck of a lot of effort. As well as the blog tour, I’m also doing booksignings for Negative Image and have the publicity machine going full force.

And I’m just back from a family vacation in Las Vegas (11 Delanys staying in the same hotel). Didn’t think much about writing books while in Vegas.

And now my computer is broken. I spilled coffee into the laptop. Fortunately I bought this little netbook recently and fortunately I backed up all my current projects to work on in Vegas, so I am at least partially connected.

Perhaps I just need to go for a long walk or clean the house (and does it need it) and let my mind wander for a while. It’s not failed me before. Somewhere in there there is an exciting, interesting, vibrant character waiting to come out.

Incidentally, I’m doing a lot of booksignings around Eastern Ontario and the GTA this month. My schedule is posted here:

That long walk might have to wait for a while.


Rick Blechta said...

Don't worry, Vicki. I'm sure inspiration will hit you soon like a cold fist at the end of a wet kiss.

Mike McPherson said...

I sympathize because I'm struggling with a similar character issue today, only my character is in a completed novel, and my critic has accused me of not having a clear picture of the character. Hey, maybe that's why I've changed his name so many times!

Vicki Delany said...

Gee Rick, that's a good line. You should use it in a book

Rick Blechta said...

Firesign Theatre already did. Sigh...