Writing in Secret


Would you believe that I am still working on the finished illustrations for A BED FOR LITTLE CUB?   I lost momentum when I had to stop and deal with a mountain of paperwork and financial statements.  Not fun.  Not how I like to spend my time.

When I can’t sit still enough to calmly draw and paint I prop myself up in bed and write.

Here’s our bed.  I like to imagine that it is a private train carriage whisking me away to Transylvania where I will have some kind of wild, mysterious adventure.

Our bed

And here is our bed in reality.  Messy!

Bed messy

But you  can see how I like to prop myself up on pillows with my laptop on my lap and write in the quietest, darkest hours of the night—usually around 3:00-5:00 am when I can’t quite fall asleep.

Feeling guilty about not painting like a possessed elf I hide in the bedroom with the lights turned out and wonder what the Wythes are up to.   In short, I have started writing the novel in secret.

The writing/story literally just comes to me.  I am beginning to know this family quite well and their quirky personalities are taking shape.   Dialogue, scenes, incidents, weather…all just seem to come naturally and in somewhat of an orderly fashion.  Of course, I have to write down the snippets of dialogue and scenes so that I don’t forget them.

In the late, late hours of the night, or the wee, wee hours of the morning, depending on how you like to look at it, I feverishly wrote two chapters.   And the writing is good!  I haven’t done any rewriting or revision yet, that can always come later.  The important thing was to capture the moment while it was pounding in my head and put the words into my trusty laptop.

I also found the perfect geographical location where I plan to set the story.  It’s close enough to Boston and Plymouth and Provincetown to work for the storyline, but it’s also not very well known so that most readers would be hard pressed to identify the locale.

Google Maps and Satellite Maps are amazing!  To be able to zoom in on a rocky island or peninsula and see every minute detail of the landscape and coastline is fantastic!

As a writer I don’t like to “outline” a book or the plot lines, but I do like to have a “road map” so that I know where the story is going to go, what events might propel the story along in an interesting and unexpected way, and which characters will hold the spotlight so that they can really have their moment of being seen and heard.

Jotting down snippets of conversation or describing a scene is all I need to jog my memory as to what I want to write for any particular section of the story.   Then it’s simply a matter of straining the words, the scenes, the conversations into the fabric of the story, adding the details and letting the characters speak for themselves.

I am discovering that the humorous bits are coming naturally enough, not forced or strained.   I think this story can be quite interesting.

Finally, after I jotted down basic family member characteristics and personalities I let my imagination (and desires) have free rein to go where they will.   For example, if the groundskeeper/handyman, Russ Samson is “hot hottie hot” and brawny, hairy, hardworking, etc. why not let him have height as well.  Why make him 6’2″ tall when 6’7″ tall is much more interesting and surprising and can lead to some very funny scenes!

I love Scotland and Belgium and everything Scottish and Belgian, so why not have the stout housekeeper be Scottish (I do a great Scots brogue and have no difficulty writing in a Scots accent)?  And the cook be Belgian?   I’d rather eat Belgian cooking than Scottish cooking and the scenes between these two could get quite explosive!

This is how I think and work as a writer.  Ideas simply come out of nowhere and I jot them down.  All I need is ONE sentence that will turn into an entire scene and most likely an entire chapter.

WYTHE’S END is going to be a wonderful story filled with love, humor, quirky events, and lots of lively banter.

I even know what the famous Wythe family tagline will be: “Fade to black”.   When you read the book this will all make perfect sense and you will see the humor of those three words

So, for now, I am writing in secret and feeling very guilty about it.

Ollie Dutch hat colour

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