Everything is inspiring! (or how my latest book was born)

posted in: Various Musings | 0

Well…maybe not everything. But just about. I can’t speak for my fellow authors out there, but I’ll tell you that my brain can be inspired by anything and everything–and I never know when inspiration is going to strike.

Currently, as you may know, I’m preparing to launch my last Nicki book. But not just a launch–I’m relaunching the entire series: new titles, re-edits (not reWRITE, mind you–the story’s the same; just a little cleanup), new descriptions. So that’s been taking up a lot of time. But in the middle of all that, inspiration struck. HARD. And it couldn’t be denied.

And it was the weirdest thing. My husband was rewatching a television show that he loved. The main character is in a mental health facility. I was sitting on the couch answering emails on my laptop, not paying attention, but hubby said something to me about the show–I can’t remember what he said, but it tripped a trigger in my brain.

And I wondered…what if you woke up in a mental health facility without remembering anything? And if you started to remember, could you trust those memories? After all, you’re in a psychiatric hospital. Your brain could be the enemy.

But what if it wasn’t?

So I hope you can understand why I dropped everything (and I do mean everything) and wrote the book that became In a Haze at lightning speed. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think it’s one of the most perfect books I’ve ever written. Let me explain…

And this is kinda sad. I’m well-read. I love reading. So it’s not like I’m a stranger to story structure. Add to that, I have three degrees in English. A BA in English Literature, MA in English, MFA in Creative Writing. But you know what? Not a single one of the classes I took for my MFA dove deep into plotting. Not one. In fact, the last class I remember taking where we talked about story structure was in HIGH SCHOOL. And, folks, I’m no spring chicken. That was a long time ago. Now, I’m not saying I’m a shitty writer. I don’t believe that. But I could be better (couldn’t we all?). So I’ve been studying plotting and pacing over the past year and I wrote In a Haze by the book, so to speak. 😉 And I know better now how to do that.

That means I’m having to alter my pantser ways–not entirely, mind you, but I need to have a better sense of the overall plot and where key events happen in the story. Those are elements I knew as a pantser, too, but not fully aware. Now I am. And, in fact, that inherent nature paid off in the story as well. While I knew where it was heading and even how it would end, there were a couple of fuzzy spots that I was writing toward–and, as I got closer to the climax, they appeared in good ol’ pantser fashion. But, unlike the Jade of last year, I knew exactly where to reveal them. (If you’re scratching your head, wondering what I mean by panster, this review post, about halfway through, describes it in more detail.)

Am I a perfect writer now? Hell, no, not by a long shot. But I am so blessed to have the most awesome readers who love me no matter what. Thank you for sticking by me! I’m hoping to reward you with even better stories over the coming years! And who knows what will inspire me next?

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