Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I got stuck on the new TERROR ON RINCON HILL book this morning, so I went back and reviewed the first few chapters hoping for inspiration. Probably a bad idea, since it turns out I don’t like them. Somehow the beginning of the story doesn’t hit me the way it should.

Experience tells me that I should ignore the little knot that started forming in my stomach around page 3. This is unusual for me. Normally, after I’ve decided the major plot of a new Sarah Woolson book, the first sentence or scene pops into my head and almost always stays there. Not this time. This beginning doesn’t pack the kind of punch I’m looking for. The question is, should I take the time to fix it now, or go back after I’ve finished the first draft?

Logically, I know I should get on with it and re-work chapter one after I see how the book is going to play out. But sometimes you just don’t want to be logical; you want the satisfaction of knowing you nailed the book from line one. On the other hand, the beginning of a book is probably the most critical section of all – every writer knows that if you don’t capture the reader’s attention on the first or second page, you’re very likely to lose them altogether! I really need to go back right now, I decide, and re-work the first couple of paragraphs until they reach out, grab readers, and physically pull them into the story.

The knot in my stomach is growing bigger by the minute. Time to calm down and rethink the opening scene. Yeah, right, calm down. That’s like trying to suppress a volcano after it’s already begun to erupt. I’ve got a deadline, after all. I’ve got a deadline, a contract, and a nervous editor to please. Not to mention daily letters from readers wanting to know when book #4 in the Sarah Woolson series will finally be off the press. Oh, no, now my head is beginning to ache!

Time for a nice hot bubble bath, I tell myself, along with a few scented candles and a nice glass of wine. Maybe two glasses of wine. Oh, what the heck, make that three!

Ah, yes, that’s the ticket, I tell myself, lowering my tense body into the soothing bubbles. No sense making this worse than it has to be. Who ever said a little case of writer’s block couldn’t be put off until tomorrow?