The process of writing a new book is mysterious. I always have a couple of ideas kicking around in my head, things I've picked up in a magazine or heard about on the news. The last YA was inspired by a Marie Claire article I read on an airplane. These ideas have to percolate for a little while, until some sort of a plot starts to emerge and the main character begins asserting his or her personality. Sometimes I even get snippets of other characters too. At this point, I don't write anything down.
After a little while, one of the voices (hopefully the main character) really starts talking and developing a personality all their own. I usually start to hear conversations in my head, or sometimes even entire paragraphs of the character's inner thoughts. This happened to me last night, when I was in my favorite place - the bathtub. This particular character got to be so strong and opinionated that I had to hop out and start taking some notes. I was being fed so many good lines, it was time to start writing stuff down (someday, someone is going to invent waterproof pens and paper for just this purpose). By the time I was done, I had about two pages of quotes and maybe the first paragraph of the book. A few more notes on the other characters and the plot and I'll be ready to sit down and start writing.
So, this all sounds good right? That's exactly what you want to happen when you're trying to write a book. Yes, except for the fact that IT'S THE WRONG BOOK! I told Agent E that I was going to write a girl-centered YA. I had some of the basic plot points worked out and was going to start focusing on character when this other boy-centric mid-grade book popped up and asserted itself. The main character has not only told me his name and his nickname, but he's given me some really good lines to work with. As much as I try to focus on the other book, for right now it looks like he's going to win.
I know this all sounds crazy, but sometimes you have to take what you're given and run with it. Oh, BTW, his name is Eli. I kind of like it.
On this date: In 1940, my dad was born. Happy Birthday Dad!