Saturday, May 26, 2012

When Your Work-In-Progress Stops Talking

Sometimes you don't see eye to eye

I'm having problems with my work-in-progress.  We've stopped talking. 
But before I tell you about all the bad things in the relationship, let me tell you about the beginning. 
Back then, everything was good.
We met in the most unexpected way. I was driving home from a weekend visit with my Mom and Dad when I hit traffic. Lots of traffic.
There I was, sitting in the car, not moving at all, somewhere around exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway, when "blammo!" I heard a voice. I heard a first sentence. I saw a character. She told me her name. There was another character. He told me his. And a place! They showed me where they lived. It was somewhere I'd never been. Then more people came into the story. They talked and talked. 
Fortunately traffic was horrendous. The normal three hour drive took over eight hours so we had lots of time to get to know each other. By the time I got home, I was breathless. After saying a quick hello to my husband and the dog, I raced the to computer.
Over the next few weeks, it was magic.
My w.i.p. told me secrets. There were some turns and twists. There was an ending. It was exactly the type of ending that this story should have.
A few days ago, I went to my computer expecting words to flow, but instead of talking, there was silence.
Not a peep. 
At first I thought it was a blip. I was patient. But the next day, it happened again. And then again.
"What did I do?" I asked. "Did I take you in the wrong direction? Do you want to go someplace else?" 
But there is no answer.  I've tried nice music (We're working on a play list). And chocolate (many many kinds of chocolate). I've talked very sweetly to all the characters.
No matter what I do, I get nothing.
Our time together is stressful. The joy is gone.
Another story whispers. It's just a chapter. But it wants me to write it. I feel like I'm cheating. Yet how long do you stay with your uncommunicative w.i.p.? How do you know when it's time to give up?
For me it comes down to belief. I still have faith in this story. And I think there's something there that wants to be told. 
Now if only I can convince those characters . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shhh. Here's the Secret About Why I Haven't Blogged

I haven't blogged in a long long time. I've been busy writing. Here's the cover for my next book. The amazing art was done by John Hendrix. I truly love this cover. That's the Jersey Devil on the sign up there pouring pancake syrup. Check out all those lovely details.

If you look, you'll see that the boy in the cover is holding a microphone. He's a famous musical prodigy, who froze on stage during a televised talent contest and he's hiding out from the paparazzi in the Pinelands of New Jersey. But it's a small town. And so it's very possible that people will find out.

So here's my question:
If you knew that a famous superstar entertainer was hiding out in your town, would you tell?
Would you whisper it to your best friend?
Shout it out to the cool kids?
Tell your boyfriend?
Your teacher?
Your sister?
Your neighbor?
Or would you help the famous boy hide out?

Statistically, most people would tell someone. While I was writing, I did some research on secrets and here's what I learned. Most of us are not good are keeping them.
One study reported that its participants kept a secret for an average of 72 hours before they spilled the beans.  That's a mere three days. Heck, I can keep a chocolate bar for longer than that.
Another study found that having a secret takes a toll on us physically. Researchers divided the participants into two groups. They asked the first group to recall a big secret. Then they pointed the participants to a hill and asked them how steep they thought it was. They did the same thing to the next group, except they asked that group to remember a smaller secret. The group with the big secrets had big problems. They thought the hill was steeper and harder to climb. That same group also had a harder time judging distance. The researchers concluded that the group with the big secrets were "physically encumbered."
It seems that old adage about feeling burdened with a secret is true.

By the way, thanks to my writing buddy C Lee McKenzie and her RAOK blitz for getting me back into blogging. Sometimes you need a push from your friends.