Well, I’m seven days in and I feel pretty good about the opening. The first words are down and I am ready for some real trouble to start. Something will be going boom soon. Sadly, the opening and some ideas are all I have right now. I can feel the story building, and I think I know where I’m going, but I’m not convinced that I have all the details right.
Sometimes when I have a story idea, the whole thing unfolds before me. It’s a bit like shaking out a tablecloth. When you look at a stack of tablecloths in the linen cabinet, you only see a tiny slice of the cloth. Yellow. Yes, that’s the color I want today. But when you pull it from the cabinet, you see a larger segment of the cloth and realize that it’s yellow with some embroidery along the edges. It’s suddenly so much more than just a rectangle of yellow cloth. Then, when you shake the cloth open to spread on the table, you find the center is full of beautifully detailed stitching. Flowers and birds create an intricate pattern across the table. Each flower and each bird is its own character in the larger scene.
When I sat down to write Protecting Parker, I saw the whole tablecloth at once. I may not have seen all the embroidery in detail, but I saw the entire thing. As I worked and reworked the story, the details became clear and I was able to share them. When I started A Shared Fear, I saw maybe half of the cloth and hoped that the rest would be just as rich when I spread the tablecloth. There was a lot more work involved in creating that book.
In this story, I have only seen the opening – the slice of yellow in the stack of tablecloths. My experience tells me there’s some great needlework on that cloth. Now if I can just get that darn cloth out from under all the other ones without tipping over the stack and getting distracted by all the other pretty colors…