Monday 14 February 2011

A girl, a boy, a monster and me

I'm looking at a picture. It's torn out of a magazine. It's of a girl and a boy and they're running. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew this girl and this boy were from the story that's been swirling about my head since late last year. I was supposed to start writing it in January, but Ghosts lured me back.

Ghosts and I are struggling.

I suspect Ghosts is a book that will make me work on it all year long and possibly all next year too. I've said before, I very much doubt I'll be querying agents this year. Ghosts isn't a book I can rush. Not that you should rush any book, but sometimes... Sometimes, you think you're ready before you are. I had a moment of madness in early January when I thought I might have the book ready for Angry Robot Books open month. January is one optimistic beast. We will not be ready. We won't even be a quarter ready.

So now I'm drifting towards the people in this picture. Running alongside them. I've laid out all my scribblings (actually neatly typed notes, but that's not as romantic) but there's no sense of order to them. Ghosts has order. It starts (I hope) in the right place and each of the scenes (I pray) has a purpose. I get to the point of the book early on, you know what she's about. We won't mention the characters--they're one of the reasons this book could take some time. With this new story, I know the people, they break my heart and yet...

...I'm loathe to set a proper schedule for them, to make everything they do matter. I want us to have a melodramatic time of it. I'll tear their hearts out while they (quite literally) are party to others having their hearts removed. I refuse to define them. Are they a short? A novella? A novel? I'm tired of defining what a story will be. I just want to enjoy the ride for a bit with no care if it's sellable or makes sense to anyone but me.

This really is the sort of day were you should remember your passion and forget the rest of the world exists. This story's for me.


Aaron Polson said...

"This really is the sort of day were you should remember your passion and forget the rest of the world exists."

As they all should be. Well said, Cate. Enjoy Ghosts.

Anthony Rapino said...

powerful post. I want to feel this way about something I'm writing. I haven't, not for a little while.

You put it in perfect terms. I love that you want the story to be yours.

Michael Stone said...

"Are they a short? A novella? A novel? I'm tired of defining what a story will be."

And you can be sure the results will be better for it. Here's hoping you have a blast writing it.

Cate Gardner said...

Amen, Aaron. Let's start a church.

I hadn't for awhile either, Anthony. I lost my way, now I'm going to force my characters to lose their way.

Oh, I do hope so, Mike. :D

Fox Lee said...

And if we mentally scar readers along the way, all the better ; )

N. R. Williams said...

Well said.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Kara McElhinny said...

Fabulous post, Cate. So true and I echo Aaron's sentiments.

Good luck with your story and happy writing!

Barry Napier said...

Oh my God, I hate it when an idea thinks it's ready to be molded only to tease you with about 20 pages and then decides it wants to take a prolonged break.

Best of luck with Ghosts!

Cate Gardner said...

Yes indeed, Natalie.

Thanks, Nancy

Thanks, Kara

Barry, I wish it was only 20 pages long - it's a complete first draft plus 20,000 words of the second but we'll work it out. I hope. Cue song--Breaking up is hard to do... :D

Kimbra Kasch said...

It's hard to be creative - when you have to plan so much

Jeffery E Doherty said...

Don't you love it when that happens?


Danielle Birch said...

Don't set any schedules, just run alongside them and enjoy the journey :)

Cate Gardner said...

Totally, Kim

I do, Jeffery

Will do, Danielle

Katey said...

The last line of this blog post says it all.

I love when I get a visual cue like that and it tells me where to go... even though it's usually just more of a vague direction than an actual path.

all year long and possibly all next year too
If it makes you feel any better, there's this one book that I started when I was 21. I submitted it to someone this year.

I'm 30.

No wait, that might make you feel worse. I do not wish a 9 year struggle on you. Just saying, you are not alone.

Cate Gardner said...

Some books just take a little longer. I hope me and Ghosts have a lasting rather than fleeting relationship.