Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap of Faith

Today, it's that awesome, comes-only-once-every-4-years, special day that -- to me -- always feels like a gift from the gods.

As usual, I have too much to do. Too much to try to accomplish before the end of the month. So I'm grateful for an extra 24 hours. And, sure, I'm excited about a few things that will be happening in March (we have some big family/friend birthdays and anniversaries ahead) but, ohhhh, I am nowhere close to being ready for the projects I have due in the next few weeks either...not to mention my own personal deadlines...

One of those personal deadlines involves finishing a draft of a new manuscript this spring -- a novel that I started writing "for fun" (because authors are insane and desperately in need of normal hobbies) about a year and a half ago, and it's a book that is not quite like anything else I've ever worked on.

This scares me to no end.

I wouldn't say the subject matter is so wildly different from my prior projects (although there are a few elements that are brand new to me) but, rather, that the writing process for this book has been unusual from the beginning. Typically, I'm a loose but dedicated plotter. I outline. I adore Blake Snyder's beat sheet -- you all already knew that. Well, this particular book doesn't seem to want to be outlined. I've tried to do the beats for it FOUR separate times, and every time the last 5 or 6 beats have changed on me... And, while there is certainly a character-study side to the narration, this happens to be a story with A LOT of plot!! I, quite literally, need to know what's going to happen in the later chapters so I can, you know, write the middle! The fact that I'm having to fly into the mist so much with this manuscript is, for me, like some crazy leap into the unknown...every single time I work on it.

So, rather fittingly, I am spending today -- Leap Day -- mostly offline and primarily writing. I need to close my eyes and take a few jumps into the story's future. I'm not at all sure where I'll land by the day's end, just that I hope (!!) I'll be a little further along on my characters' journey by tomorrow.

What about you? How are you spending this extra gift of a day?!


Edie Ramer said...

I'm writing the same kind of a book. I just finished a scene and now I have no idea what's going to happen next. (I do have some ideas later one. Just not NOW.) It's very scary. But this is pretty much how I write every book, so I'm used to it. Welcome to my world. lol Good luck!

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Edie!! Well, at least I know it's possible to for *someone* to write a good book this way! You're giving me hope, my dear ;). And thanks for the luck...I need and appreciate it!

Robin Bielman said...

Oh, Marilyn! I'm excited for you! It sounds like despite veering from your traditional writing methods, you're enjoying this journey. As a pantser, I love it when my characters take me in a direction I didn't see coming. Hope your "leap" today proves successful! Best wishes!

Caryn Caldwell said...

That does sound scary - but kind of exciting and fun, too! Hope it goes well, vague ending and all! You're smart and dedicated, though; I have no doubt you'll figure it out.

Pamala Knight said...

I missed commenting ON Leap Day but hopefully the old adage holds true and it's better late than never.

I tried to get things done yesterday but for whatever reason, my mind kept screaming that it was an EXTRA day and therefore not subject to the strictures of my neo-hard ass regime of scheduling. Therefore, I don't remember what I did, lol! A whole lot of nothing, I'm sure.

But, I'm making up for it today by editing, writing, writing, and writing.


Pamela Cayne said...

I'm so happy for you!!! I think these 'leap books' are the best thing for us writers and I know yours is going to be fabulous!!! It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings--Sometimes you just need to take the leap and build your wings on the way down. May your wings carry you far, Marilyn!

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin, thank you!! I'll admit, it's been fascinating so far...often more terrifying than exciting, LOL, but it's helping me to understand the joys/stresses of my pantser friends!

Caryn, you're so sweet to say that -- thank you for the vote of confidence! (I needed that this week. :) Hope you're having a wonderful one!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, you are welcome *anytime*, my friend -- early, late, whenever you can squeeze me in... ;) Hope you got a lot of writing-editing-writing accomplished yesterday. I have my fingers crossed you'll have great news ahead this spring!!

Pamela, how wonderful you are! I'm so glad YOU feel so strongly about it's potential for fabulousness because I'm nowhere near as certain, LOL. I really loved that saying you shared -- thank you. I'm going to write it out and post it by my computer screen today as I slog forward. CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU next month!!!

Love and hugs to you all!