Key West -- I'm having a hard time writing the fourth, and final, book in the Pain&Great One series. "So what else is new?" George says, reminding me that I always feel this way when I start a book. I have a title -- Friend or Fiend -- and I have a rough draft of the title story. And an even rougher draft of the second story, which may turn out to be two stories. That would be good! That's how it works when you're writing a novel. One thing leads to another to another. But with short stories it doesn't work that way. And the Pain&Great One books are made up of seven short stories, all about the same brother and sister - Abigail and Jake. I've never been a short story writer so these books have been a challenge, but what fun each time a story is finished and it works! (That's what I have to keep reminding myself.)
The second book in the series, Cool Zone, will be published in May. A "reader's copy" of the third book, Going, Going, Gone! (due out in September) arrived at my house yesterday. That's like a preview copy, but without all the illustrations, revisions, and corrections. Still, it's so exciting to get a first look at a new book. It's like a birth -- you forget everything that went into it, the difficult days, the pain, the feeling that you'll never be able to do it -- and you just rejoice. You did it!
But now the next deadline is looming. This book is due in May (for publication in May '09). I've been writing by hand this morning and it's going better than it went yesterday. Sometimes when I'm struggling it works better to scribble than to type. There's a brain/hand connection. Also, yesterday I was feeling low about the results of Tuesday's primary. I hate it when the campaign gets negative. I hate that getting negative can bring in votes. I don't usually let whatever's going on in the real world affect my writing. (Wait! Do I really mean that? How about after 9-11 when I thought I'd never write again?)
Now I'm thinking about taking a shower. If I take my shower between 10am and 11am I can listen to the Diane Rehm show on NPR. I love my bathroom radio! I love the Diane Rehm show.
Of course, that takes me away from my characters, but it also gives me a break. This is very different from having a good first draft of a whole book. Once I have that, you can't get me away from my desk. (Well, okay - you can. But I'm not looking for excuses the way I am now.)
All in all, I'd rather be tap dancing!
Which I get to do tomorrow morning.
Here's a picture I can't resist sharing. A Fudge fan put this book into the hands of his baby sister. When I need inspiration I turn to my readers. And you know what? It almost always works.
A DVD of Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
*A new brochure will soon be available replacing the ancient one we've been sending out for years. It's made up of several pages from my website, handsomely designed by the talented Mark Tuchman. And now that that's done -- he can get back to the website and animating my Home Page.
A Blogfest is coming, starting on March 12 and lasting for two weeks. My book Forever is published by Simon Pulse which is why I've been asked to participate.