Writing’s not an easy job. Some people can write a book in a couple of months – or less. They just sit down and the words flow out of their fingertips. I’m not like that. It’s a hard slog, especially when I try something different.
Somebody sent me an email about the plight of tigers in the wild. Their numbers are dwindling – fast. Humans hunt them for their skins, their teeth, eyes, bones, organs. Despite the Chinese government’s best efforts, it’s hard to persuade people their thousand-year-old traditions are crap. Powdered tiger penis isn’t going to help your erections, guys. Try some viagra. It’s sure to be cheaper.
Anyway, I’ve always had a penchant for tigers. I was born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger and they are such magnificent, solitary beasts. I thought I’d try writing a paranormal romance starring a tiger. I wasn’t keen on trying a novel. I thought I’d do a short story and see how that went. I sent a draft of about 15k words to a couple of friends to see if it was eyewash or something worse. Given words of encouragement, I edited – and added ten thousand words in the re-write. I sent that version to my most trusted beta reader – who responded with ‘loved it – read it in one sitting, where’s the rest?’
I thought it was finished. She obviously didn’t. So would I just fiddle about with the ending, tie a few things up – or would I venture forth into the ocean of storms and try for a novel? Twenty-five thousand words is somewhere around a third or a quarter of a novel. I would have a loooong way to go.
I’ve been using the story for an editing course I’m doing and it’s given me some ideas. I’m pretty much decided I’ll try for a novel. I’ll have to do some plotting and planning, introduce extra characters and many, many new scenes. But I’ll give it my best – and when it’s finished, any profits I make from the book will be donated to a tiger charity, such as David Shepherd’s initiative.
What about you? Do you have it all planned out in advance, or do you twist and turn as events catch up with you?