The bonding process – between me and my WIP – is so enthralling, I hardly know when to stop. It’s a shiny thing that’s all mine, and I buff and polish it to a high gloss before ever writing a word.
When I first come up with an idea nugget, there needs to be some alignment of the proverbial planets for me to want to carry on with it. To take things to second base, if you know what I mean.
En route to the top of the diamond, I dive into stream-of-consciousness brainstorming, skim Google images for wardrobe and location inspiration, and in this case – comb YouTube for old History Channel documentaries. This process is punctuated by broad-strokes a-ha moments that build my emotional connection, making me feel like our relationship is progressing in a meaningful way. That we’re, just maybe, taking things to the next level.
On the way to third base, I begin plotting and building scenes. During this phase I fill holes, solve weaknesses and find synergies – momentum begins to build, and loose ends find ways to knit strongly into the fabric of the story.
But I really know I’m in love (and standing on home plate) when a shower of sparks – dozens of story- and character-appropriate ideas – cascades through the framework of the novel as connections are made and the structure begins to vibrate with its own energy.
Maybe this is what painting is like – layer upon layer of colour, more and more textural detail laid upon the canvas – until it is complete. Maybe this is what composing is like – the addition of instruments and harmonies until a symphony emerges.
Holy crap is it ever fun.