Friday, May 25, 2007

I've been at sea...

I’ve been away on holidays and came back to a stomach bug. Hence my silence – that and the fact that once I was recovering, I had to get my head down on my next book.

Writing came to a hiccuping halt yesterday afternoon, but I had a big discussion with my first-reader/husband and, bless him, I think I’ve seen the way forward.

It’s funny how this happens in nearly every book and I guess it’s part of the problem of being a writer who doesn’t plot ahead.

I start out with a very clear vision for the ‘situation’ my characters find themselves in, but that’s about all. I don’t want to know how they’re going to deal with this problem I’ve given them, because that will spoil the fun.

It’s like setting out from shore and sailing towards a dot on the horizon and planning to navigate by the sun and the stars. Suddenly mist comes in, obscuring the way. How does one navigate now?

For me, it’s a matter of blindly pushing on, feeling my way more cautiously and bumping into a few decoys. This week, one of the decoys came in the form of a secondary character. The hero’s uncle.

An uncle?

Now what is an uncle doing in a category romance, when we all know the story should be very tight and focused on the central couple? No wonder my writing felt wrong, totally unromantic. Said uncle has been replaced by the heroine’s ex-husband and the story feels completely different.

So now that’s nutted out, I hope to be sailing happily forward again.

During the week, the hardcover of my next book NEEDED: HER MR. RIGHT arrived. I wanted to scan it to show you, but the only image I could get is grainy and doesn’t do this beautiful cover justice. This is Book 2 in the Secrets We Keep trilogy and will be out in the UK and North America in September. If you remember last year, I said the ending involved a wedding at the beach and that’s what my cover depicts. Simone and Ryan look gorgeous.

Count me as one happy cookie!


Anonymous said...

Oh you don't often have an ex-husband for the heroine. I agree it is a much better plot device than an uncle!! I hope you are well and truly recovered now. The lurgy has been rampant here too. I think I am a planner, not a pantser, though not ostensibly. I must think 'behind thinks' because whenever I write something I already magically know what I am going to say, almost down to the last word!!!

SCRIBBLY said...

I hope you feel better soon, Barbara. I am an unpublished writer of catefory fiction (yes, Sweet). This is the first time I've been to your blog, and I particularly enjoyed reading this section on how your stories come together. At the moment I'm reading 'In the Heart of the Outback', and enjoying it enormously. Actually, I can't put it down. The emotional conflict is one of the strongest I've ever read in a category romance. I'm also enjoying the 'unpredictable' quality of the novel. When Fiona broached her 'dreaded subject' with Byrne, I closed my eyes and tried to guess what could be the outcome. I had no idea what was going to happen. The tension was excruciating, but masterfully written.
Thank you for your excellent writing Barbara. I look forward to your new releases and learn many new things about writing from every one.

Barbara Hannay said...

Hello scribbly,
How lovely to meet you here. I'm much better now, thank you and I'm so pleased to hear that you're enjoyng 'In the Heart of the Outback'. I wonder if the unpredictable quality comes from my lack of planning?
Mind you, when I first started writing, I used to plan more than I do now. I needed the sense of having a road map.
I hope you're enjoying your writing journey. I am so grateful that I embarked on a writing life, I love it and I'm sure you will too!