I can never start at the beginning. If you ask how I come to write a book, I’ll can never start from absolute zero. At any given point at any given day, salient thoughts may swirl around and eventually lead to character or plot development or some sort of mood that paves the way for a new book, but I pay them little direct attention.
There’s this movie scene when the Ghostbusters must keep their minds utterly blank to avoid total disaster. Dan Ackroyd’s character fails. Ba-doom … ba-doom … ba-doom. Massive footsteps proceed the creature. Ba-doom … ba-doom … ba-doom. Here comes … what? I won’t spoil it, but believe me it’s coming, looming over, fraught with impending terror. Pretty much out of the clear blue.
Once again, I am scattered, at sea, wandering aimlessly through Writing World. It often (maybe, always?) happens when I am between projects without a clear agenda or firm deadline in sight. So many possibilities, so many shiny objects.
I was perfectly situated to write picture books. I loved kids. I loved kids’ books. I wrote advertising. I was set to write with an economy of words. And I did. Or I tried. Deep in my file cabinet I have at least a couple dozen picture book manuscripts, all, if not brilliant, then on the verge of brilliance. At least I thought so. Publishers? Not so much.