I’ve been reading your comments on the Lily opening, and I’ve realized that you’ve put a lot more thought into this story than I have, probably because I’m not going to write it. But it made me think about how I got to that scene, because the last thing I needed to do was start a new book. Of course, part of it was just a way to avoid cleaning the house and working on Nita, there’s always that. But after that, it pretty much went like this:
1. We were talking about planting things and I brought up Surprise Lilies, one of my faves. And I thought, “Surprise Lily. What a great title for a book.” And then I went somewhere else and did something else.
2. Much later, probably a day or so, I thought, “What would Surprise Lily be about?” And I thought about how Surprise Lilies just pop up unexpectedly, and I thought, “Maybe she just pops up every century or so.” And then I went somewhere else and did something else.
3. Much later, definitely two days or more, I thought,”Well if she goes back to three-digit years, she might know Pangur Ban.” And I checked, and Pangur Ban was Irish in the 800s (or so) and the worst problem they had were Vikings. So I thought, “Vikings, huh.” And then I went somewhere else and did something else.
4. Then Monday afternoon, something reminded me of my last therapist, who turned out to be a nightmare, and I thought about how Lily would be with her and there was Dr. Ferris and the first part of the scene wrote itself, and then I got to the boxes part and thought,”Now what?” and decided that Ferris would offload Lily onto someone she didn’t like, and there was Nadia, who is very loosely based on my current therapist who is wonderful. So I put up the blog post and then sent her a text linking to it, and she texted back “Great. Now I wanna read the book.” I wrote back, “It’s not gonna be a book. But you are Nadia’s sister.” And then I went somewhere else and did something else.
5. The next day, I started reading your comments and began to think about Ireland and whether Vikings smelled, and then I stopped because I’m not going to write this book. But later on I did try to figure out how Lily died twelve times, so there’s that, except I’m not happy with the list. If I was going to write this book, I’d fix it, but since I’m not, I’m going back to cutting Act Two of Nita.
Here’s the list, labeled by century, not exact date:
800: Viking invasion, falls off cliff.
900: Vikings again
1000: Vikings again
1100: Sigurd I of Norway becomes the first Norwegian king to embark on a crusade to the Holy Land, Lily is dating a Viking, tags along, dies by accident?
1200 Died at birth
1300 Black Death/Plague
1400 Died at birth
1500 Died at birth
1600 Mt. Vesuvius. (Vikings? Okay, maybe not Mr. Vesuvius.)
1700 Died at birth
1800 Potato Famine (Needs more Viking.)
1900 Titanic. (Viking Iceberg?)
I could do better than that because those deaths should be tied to things in Lily’s life now, but I’m not going to write this book. And now I must go somewhere else and do something else.