At the end of last week I started the 7th book in the Eva and the Irishman series and I’m thrilled. The wonderful thing about it is I get to do the thing I love most about writing, what I call first drafting. It starts with a general idea, a blank page, a trust the process, my open mind, and a deep desire to write a story that I love.
It became apparent that I was going to write the 7th novel when I finished the 6th. I knew the series wasn’t finished. The next historical era coming up is WWII. I left off novel 6 with Brendan, one of Eva and Liam’s grandchildren, who enlists in the Marines and goes overseas in 1938, and comes home in 1939, two years before Pearl Harbor. I’ve avoided the new novel for a while now since I get a little intimidated by having to research certain historical events, so I have to take it step by step.
It takes a only little time for me to come up with the ideas or a general outline. Since my stories are largely character driven, I still have to have a general plot line, especially with a historical background. Each time something flashes in my brain for the new story and characters, I run to the notebooks I keep next to my laptop and jot it down. If I don’t do that, I lose it. Then, over some time I see if that idea “feels right.” By that, I mean I listen to my internal guidance system. (Everyone has an internal guidance system). If the idea feels good, I go with it. If it doesn’t light my fire at all, I stay open for other ideas. When I start the new novel, I begin with the established characters and then they usher the new ones in.
First drafting is only the skeleton of the story. Through the process of editing (fleshing out the scenes, especially with the new characters) the story line and characters become more real and multi-faceted and only then can they direct me where the story is headed. A guesstimate of how long it takes for a novel to have a beginning, middle, and end is about 5 to 6 months. A sudden idea for a new character just happened to me writing this blog. I stopped typing, picked up my pen, and wrote it down. It excites me when that happens. OMG, I love writing.