Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thoughtful About . . . Thunder in the Brain

As you can undoubtedly tell if you've read my last couple Remember When posts, I'm currently in one of my favorite places to be--brainstorming mode. I've finished one book, have all but wrapped up my edits on the one due in a few weeks. And ready to get down to business on the next ones in my schedule. You know, the ones that I either sold on a paragraph as a second book in a series or are trying to sell based on a chapter or two. The ones I don't quite know yet.

I love brainstorming. And while I try not to make this blog focus on things that will only appeal to writers, bear with me. Let's see where I can go with this. ;-)

My agent has deemed me "an idea gal," which is a really good description. And why I have dozens of unfinished manuscripts that I start just to get an idea down on paper (or screen, as the case may be) but don't have the leisure to finish at a given point. Ideas for books have always hit me at odd moments. They churn around my brain all on their own until they're full-blown and ready to be written. And oh, how I love that. That day or two of discovery as two disparate ideas click together to make a story.

But this is the first time in my life when I'm brainstorming with expectations, and I gotta say, it's a whole new feeling. In the past, it's always been me being intrigued by something, me thinking, "Hey, that would make a great book!" I've never before had to wonder if someone in particular would like it. As in, enough to have their company shell out a couple grand for it. But now this brainstorming isn't for me. It's for my editors, my publishers. Those people who said, "Hey, could you get me a proposal on this?"

This? That thing there? Hmm. Never thought about that before. Let me see what I can come up with.

The past two weeks as I've done this, I've  had to engage my brain in a whole new way. Gather specific information to me and try to find the story in it. Try to make it mine. With each of the stories I've been brainstorming (and there are three of them!), I've prayed, Lord, help me find a way to make this exciting for myself.

And He has. Oh, He has. With the first story I was working on, in sending a long, rambling email about it to my best friend and critique partner, I stumbled upon the perfect hook for myself--bringing in some characters I absolutely adore from a book I never wrote more than a chapter or two on and plopping them into my new circumstances.

I am now totally in love with this idea. Because I love, love, love those characters that have now become Elise Ashton and Nicolas Montagu. Love them! And I'm so excited for the chance to write this new story of theirs.

Then just the other day I was brainstorming my second Culper Ring book and prayed, Lord, give me a handle on who these characters are, one that will make me love them as much as Elise and Nicolas. Within minutes--minutes!--it hit me. That Gwyneth uses her art to share secrets--oh, that was just what I needed!

There are so many parts of life that don't have such easy answers. So many parts that I pray for answers about and then listen to silence. So many times I ask, Lord, please tell me what to do here but have to wait sooooooo long to get a response. Honestly, I'm there in another part of my life right now. My husband and I (I as an adviser and party of interest, though it's not really my decision) have some tough choices in our immediate future, and frankly, I have no idea what we're supposed to do. I'm praying, but the answers don't come quite so easily or surely as when I just need to craft new characters.

Part of me wonders why it works that way. Part of me thinks that there are probably those in the world who would sneer at me for focusing on a fictional world when my real one is in need of some serious attention. But the answer's obvious, and one my husband thankfully understands as well as I do--this is who I am, what I'm called to do. This is my part right now. When I think of all the years I worked and worked to get published, when I think about where I was even this time last year, wondering how I was going to get that next sale, and look at God's timing--yeah, it's pretty clear He led me to this place in my career right now because now is when we need it.

Yeah, okay, this wasn't where I expected this post to go, LOL. But I guess that's what Roseanna is thoughtful about today. I would really appreciate your prayers as my hubby and I make some big decisions in the next week.

And I'd also like to hear from you on where you feel most comfortable. When there are parts of your life just a quakin' and a shakin', when the storm's raging on one front, where do you go to find that peace? What's the thing you do that makes you feel capable and able to pull your weight? For me, it's writing, and especially coming up with new ideas. What is it for you?


  1. Absolutely praying, Roseanna - and I've found I'm more of a "talker" in stress than writer.

  2. Not as often as I should...God. Sometimes I use a godly friend for a sounding board, too....

    (I have not been commenting much, but I am reading!)