Thursday, December 04, 2014

Unintentional NaNoWriMo

I didn't mean to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. It just turned out that way. I spent the entire month of November holed up in my den trying to get my WIP in order.

And, by Jove, I think I've done it.

Not that the book is done, but the first draft is more or less finished and the first 100 pages are pretty well in order. My husband is off reading them right now. He’s the first person to clap eyes on it. He’ll have several suggestions, and I’ll do a little rewriting and rearranging before I send them off to the Big Chief at Poisoned Pen Press in a couple of weeks, I hope. Then, if she approves, I have to polish off the rest of the book. When that happens I will once again be Whereabouts Unknown until the book is finished.

Here’s a little secret that writers know. You can have the most brilliant idea every conceived on God’s green earth but what separates the men from the boys is the ability to get it down on paper in an effective way. And no matter how well received my novels are, I never feel like what I've written is as good as the story that was in my head.

This new book will be the eighth in the Alafair Tucker series. My original plan was only to do ten books, so I may be nearing the finish line. There are a couple of stories yet untold about some of the series characters, so the possibility exist that there will be an extra book or two, but we shall see. I really don't want to keep writing on this series until it run out of steam, or like Agatha Christie and Poirot, end up hating my protagonist. (Though at this point I can't envision that happening. If someday I can't think of anything else to write about her, it won't be her fault.)

One very big problem I've had with the last few books is that I get so caught up in the history of the period that I can hardly restrain myself from trying to put it all in the book. This is a problem familiar to any historical novelist. I've had special difficulty with the WIP, because it is set in Oklahoma at the beginning World War I. The American home front in World War I was pretty scary, but you would not beLIEVE what was going on in Oklahoma in 1917. Have you ever heard of the Tulsa Outrage or the Green Corn Rebellion?* I grew up in Tulsa and they never taught us anything about either one when I was in school. No wonder--I'm sure the adults just wanted to forget all about it. Let's just say people have always been as wildly hysterical and idiotic as they are now, and sometimes I despair of humanity.
*They never taught us about the Tulsa race riots of 1921, either. In the worst race riots in U.S. history, mobs attacked the African American section of Tulsa, the very large and prosperous Greenwood district, and burned it to the ground. Over 1000 homes and business were destroyed and an estimated 200 black people killed. The residents of Greenwood didn't just take it, either. They fought back, and many whites were also killed.


Aline Templeton said...

Doris, I do so agree about the finished book never quite matching up to the wonderful book I had written in my head before I started. But if I thought it had, perhaps it would just mean I'd lost the critical faculty that's vital if you're going to write a good book.

Donis Casey said...

I wish I were like Margaret Mitchell or Harper Lee, Aline, and could just write the one perfect book, make a gazillion dollars, and from then on do whatever I want.