Trusting The Process

On these cold winter days I’ve been kind of sketchily working on the next book in the Rowan Milani Chronicles. Heck, I’ve even given it a working title, The Reckoning. Then I did a Google search and YIKES! There are about a dozen books and movies with that title. Who knew?? Guess I’ll have to ponder exactly what kind of reckoning I’m talking about.

So far I’m a little over 10,000 words into the story. You might say a drop in the proverbial word bucket. Ha! That’s certainly how it feels. At this point in the process I’m finding myself terribly impatient. I want to read the story, damn it. And then I realize, I have to write it first. Sheesh!

At the start there is sooo much research to be done. Within this story are at least three new villains to be crafted. This is no small process. The details are important. How old are they, what do they look like, where did they grow up, what about siblings, parents, education and career for the position they have in the story, personality traits, are they married, do they have kids, what kind of mannerisms, and on and on. Whew, that was a long sentence. Perhaps the longest I’ve ever written!

It’s all necessary to create an actual person instead of a stick character. When I’m done with them, I want to feel like I could meet them somewhere for a cup of coffee or a drink. The next thing I do is exactly that! Sitting at my laptop, I type something like this… Hey Michael, nice to meet you. Let’s chat.

After the opening sentence, I let my fingers type as the thoughts come. And that is the process I trust to put the final touches on the humanity of the character. It forms a basis for future dialogue and often includes some real gems. There are things that come out in conversation with other characters that I had no inkling of.

Once the entire process is completed, I can write scenes including that particular character with confidence. Because I know them. I know how they’re going to react, how they will relate to the situation, how they’ll interact with the other characters in the scene.

Here’s one of my favorite examples from Unholy Retribution. I was writing a conversation between Gabriel and Michael. They are traveling on a Gulfstream G650 luxury jet along with Rowan from the island of Kauai to Chicago. Rowan has fallen asleep and they’re discussing how he’s treated his lover, Danielle:

Gabriel shook an index finger at his colleague. “That’s the other thing. What he did to Danielle when we left was not right. She’s a good woman. She loves him more than the loco idiot deserves.”

Michael raised the glass to his lips, then lowered it. “Hell, that’s the plight of every woman, isn’t it?”

Wow! After I typed Michael’s words, my mouth hung open. I had not been thinking anything about whether “that’s the plight of every woman.” That would never have occurred to me. It’s kinda crazy how that sort of thing happens, but it does, all the time. And it’s lots of fun.

For some reason, these past few months, I’ve been impatient with the process. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by any number of fun things. I’ve been watching repeats of my favorite Iowa State Men’s basketball games. (my alma mater 😊) Or binge watching some great series on Prime or Netflix. Ugh…and then I feel terribly guilty.

Eventually, sooner rather than later, I’ll turn the TV off, quit checking Substack, Facebook and emails and get started. I’ll put my trust in the process. After all, there are an increasing number of wonderful, excited fans of the Rowan Milani Chronicles who want to read that next story as badly as I do.

Believe me, I appreciate each and every one of you!!!!!

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