Seeing the Forest

It’s official.  I’m having triplets.

No, no, not the kind that will give me insane stretch marks and make my feet swell (although I might get a serious case of “writer’s butt”).

I’ve mentioned before that when I finished my manuscript, Phoenix, the characters wouldn’t stop chatting. It’s an open ending, one that lets the readers imagine for themselves what happens next. I was letting the MS cool before editing it again (I’m a firm believer that you can’t go from typing in “the end” and right into editing, you need to forget some of the stuff you’ve written) when I woke up with the first scene of the second book in my head.

“Alright,” I said to the characters. “Prove to me that there is more to your story. But it can’t just be one book, you need to have enough for two.”

They shared most of book two I was on vacation, so I appeased them by continuing to write, all the while telling them they still have one more to give me.

I’m an inconsistent writer; I don’t work on my fiction every day. This works for me because in order to stay in the mind of my story, I think about my WIP every day and this allows me to see the forest for the trees.

Writers have to be both the big-picture thinker and the minutia doer. We have to have the vision and the strategy, and be the ones to execute. If we were in a corporate setting, we’d be both team leader and team player. Essentially, we’re doing the job of two people. Imagine if we’re constantly in the doer role, we would have no time to be the visionary, the big-thinker, the Steve Jobs of our novel.

I do most of my thinking during my commute to and from work. It was during my drives a couple of weeks ago that the characters shared with me book three. I know the end of the current WIP, which gives me insight into how the third book will start, but from there I wasn’t sure where it was going. I’ve been on the verge of scrapping it all and moving on to something completely different, when it hit me. All of it. Even the ending of the entire trilogy.

I’m not a “plotter” when it comes to writing, I like the pantster mentality of letting the story unfold and surprise me. But, I realized that with triplets on the way, I needed to plan where this is going, to start setting up conflicts now that will come to a head in the next one, to let new characters start to emerge so I can learn what makes them tick. And, sadly, prepare myself to say goodbye to some current characters.

I’m sure like being pregnant with actual triplets, I’m looking at a lot of work ahead and sleepless nights. But, at least I’ll be able to wash my feet and drink to celebrate.

Cheers,

K

About Kimberly Packard

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years. When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Oliver the cat and a 75-pound lap dog named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors.
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