I want readers to read my books from page one to . . . the end. I don’t write them that way. The book I’m working on (still no title) is (at the moment) a mystery, a thriller, or something like. That means I go back and forth, making sure everything fits together smoothly. Sometimes, as happened today on page 130, the plot shifts. That required me to return to page 10, and add something to make it work. That it turn brought me to page 43, to make sure another link was adjusted. Another on page 75. Only then, did I go back to page 130, and move forward. That’s my everyday process. Forward and back. Endlessly. Sometimes these changes are big. Sometimes they are small. One of the hard parts of writing a novel is keeping the whole plot—plot, events, characters, places–in my head every moment I’m writing. My hope is to create a seamless tale that readers will enjoy from page one right through to the end . . . assuming I ever get there.
The cover of a novel is usually the first connection between reader and book. Very important. Readers are sometimes puzzled that the writer usually does not control the choice. The truth is, the writer is not always the best judge. I’m not. The writer may write well, but his/her artistic, marketing, design talents and judgments may not be so well developed. (Pictures books are a whole different world.) In the best circumstance, the artist, art director, editor, marketing people and writer come to a joint decision. At the moment, I am having three covers designed 1) my forthcoming book Deception, 2) the paperback of City of Orphans, 3) a reissue of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I’m happy to say I am involved in all three projects. It’s a complex process. When they are finalized I’ll post them here.
Here’s one of writing’s hazards. I had spent much of the day working out a plot problem on new book. At about 11 PM I thought I solved it. Great, I told myself, write it first thing in the morning. Made a brief note, and went to sleep. Or tried to. Bingo! Eyes opened at 3:30 AM full of that idea. Not much sleep. But problem solved.
I am working on a new book. It’s so new it has no title, and to be honest, I’m not sure what will happen. Certainly no ending is in sight. But it’s different, I think, than anything I have written before, so I’m having a good—if hard—time.