Writing a Book: a story

I’ve heard people say that writing a book is like having a baby. Yeah, that doesn’t really work for me. For one thing, writing a book didn’t make me nauseous for 9-months. Nor did it make tying my sneakers a lesson in gymnastics. Nor was the finished product 8.5 pounds. And really, what business did that baby have being 8.5 pounds, anyway? Especially since I spent most of those 9 months too nauseous to eat. Explain! Oh, wait, sorry, oversharing. It happens.

Anyway, for me, the process of writing my first book turned out to be a lot like… a book itself. Go figure.

Inciting Incident: Husband asks when I’m going to start writing for real. Which he’s already asked me 999 times before. Because I accidentally told him, years earlier, that I wanted to write books. So for the 1000th time I tell him, “I don’t have the time right now.” I mean, geez, I have 2 very young kids. I consider the day a success if everyone’s dressed by dinner time. Bonus points for brushing teeth. Doesn’t he realize that I’m still recovering from that trip to the grocery store two days ago? I do not have it all together. Not even a little.

That same day, kid #2 sleeps through the night. Coincidentally, television gets really boring. I take it as a SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE. It occurs to me that I have, like, four solid hours after the kids go to bed. And I’m kind of used to not sleeping at this point anyway. Four hours. What have I been doing with that block of time? It’s unclear. I begin to write.

Early Plot: I write every night. WriteWriteWrite. It’s kind of fun. I never know what’s going to happen next. *This may be foreshadowing of a PROBLEM TO COME*

Roadblock 1: The scenes in my head do not come out in perfect, sense-making, paragraphs. Distressing.

Middle Plot: Rewrite the scenes until they come out the way I see them. This takes much more time than I had imagined. Also, holy crap, books are really long.

Roadblock 2: Turns out I have a premise and an inciting incident but not an actual plot. Let me repeat that: I have reached the end and my book does not have a working plot. Probably this was expected (see early plot), but it is a horrifying realization.

Late Plot: Stare at ceiling fan for an undisclosed number of nights. Rewrite book.

Climax/Resolution: My computer gets a virus, which totally serves me right. I mean, what was I doing surfing the internet when I was supposed to be writing? Especially so close to the end! I only lose 7 pages, but those were THE 7 pages. You know, the ones that pulled it all together and made it a freaking BOOK. My husband, awesome computer nerd, defeats said virus and restores my document. (Look, he was in the inciting incident, you knew he’d be relevant to the plot somehow, didn’t you?) Book completed.

Of course, this is not really THE END. Next come revisions. Oh, revisions. I blogged about these before. They’re disgusting. Kind of like butterflies.