I’ve written a biography and three novels, and each has come to me or started in a different way.
A conversation with my former boss at Judy Taylor’s funeral turned the light bulb on over my head to tell Judy’s mind-boggling story, to begin my long, long research and writing journey. For my first novel, the story came to me before all else, complete with a nascent idea for a happy ending. And even though I began with the ending when I sat down to actually write it, my very first jottings were the first lines. My second novel emerged as an idea, a concept really. After that, the beginning and ending formed before the middle did. My third novel began with a theme and the ending, but when I drafted the outline, the letters on the screen morphed into a totally different idea with a hint of the original in it. The ending stayed the same. I’m currently wrestling with my fourth (unwritten) novel that asserted itself in my head with a title. Just a title. I’m still not sure what the story is. Well, last night, after the midnight witching hour, some details did rise out of an amorphous pond deep in the recesses of my mind. I’m not so sure I like.
But the most unique kick-starter has to be the one I received last week. An email plopped into my inbox asking me for details on where and how to purchase my book on head injury. The only problem is I haven’t published that book yet. (Talk about mind reading from afar!) I haven’t even told anyone I was considering it. The key word here is “considering.” Many have said to me I should write my story. Nah, is my reflexive response. Some have said I should write a book about head injury – through my story. Still not interested. I do blog on brain injury though. And I had been thinking I ought to put my posts together into an ebook, but I was writing and revising other books, and I remained unsure about the whole idea.
So much of writing is thinking. I probably spend immensely more time thinking and mulling (and jotting down what I don’t want to forget) than actually writing when working on a book. So for me, I’ve been thinking so long about a book on head injury that it is close to being done. Still, if that email hadn’t arrived – with its message of “we want to buy” not the usual message of “you should write” – I would continue to think not type.