Every Book Makes Its Own Rules

I have just realized that I’m writing this book in chapters in chronological order. I NEVER do that. It’s the weirdest thing, but that’s the way it’s coming to me in chunks of 5000 to 6000 words. It’s just bizarre. I’m fairly sure I’ll break free by the time Act One is done, and of course there will be copious rewriting, but I’ve never written a book like this before. It would worry me, but I figure I can blame Bob. He’s very linear. We’ve been talking about writing for weeks. It’s his influence and his fault.

The pacing of the love story seems faster, too. As in, usually they begin an affair at the midpoint/point of no return and the rest of the book is them working out the relationship as they struggle to solve the subplot. Of course, usually they don’t hit the sheets in the first chapter, which is where this one starts. I like the idea that they have a fantasy idea of each other and then get a rude awakening–who among us hasn’t been there?–and then they work out a new relationship as they work out the subplot and find out that they’re not that different from who they were in the beginning after all. It was really important to me that they don’t lie in that first chapter so there are no tiresome “But you said” arguments. They both screwed up in their assumptions, they both accept that, they move on. They’ll have enough to argue about without Big Misunderstandings. I feel the same about Big Misunderstandings that Joan Crawford felt about wire hangers.

So that “many roads to Oz” bit I’ve been bashing students with for decades, I now realize applies to changes within a writer’s career, too. This book is different? Fine, straight on til morning and don’t sweat the small stuff. Like EVERYTHING’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME.

But, like Anna, I am calm.

17 thoughts on “Every Book Makes Its Own Rules

  1. I’m SO happy. Not lying, you’re totally in my prayers. I’m half sorry to be so selfish. 😂🤣 I usually pray for health of friends and family.

    I noticed that this story started at chapter one with sexy times on the page. And it was an easy read, critically relevant to the character development! Seems like it was an easier write too!

    Cautiously optimistic that this leads to Alice and Nadine being a completed set of works. 🌸

    1. They’re on the Works in Progress page here on Argh. There’s nothing about either one on JenniferCrusie.com.

      Oh, wait, you said TAGS. I’m terrible at tags. I’ll try to fix that later.

  2. Can I just say?
    I love, love, love romances where the characters really have to peel away at layers to get to know each other and get to their happy ending and I’m definitely getting that feeling with this. I feel like that’s why the beginning in Vegas works.

  3. I am so happy that you are having (at least for now) an easier time and that The Girls love your mapping and floor plans. Do carry on–I am loving this book-in-progress! Thank you for doing the work.

  4. I had to look up Joan Crawford and wire hangers even though I could see what you were saying :). I am including it here and mentally replacing wire hangers with Big misunderstandings which I hate in books too. I remember reading a book recently and I thought it was going the Big misunderstanding way and then it didn’t… they talked… they sorted out, I was so relieved!

    « No… wire… hangers. What’s wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER? I work and work ’till I’m half-dead, and I hear people saying, “She’s getting old.” And what do I get? A daughter… who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her… as she cares about me. »

  5. Yay for the progress and yay for embracing writing style changes. As they say, the only constant in life is change so sounds about right to me.

    Plus, bonus: now Bob can add “muse” to his résumé;)

  6. Linearity? There are many lines. Spirals, sinusoidal waves, parabolas, hyperbolas, the catenary, lots of others. Some lines are just scribbles. Write however the girls tell you. We’ll read it, trust me. 🙂

  7. Maybe The Girls are teaching you to extend the same amount of acceptance to yourself that you have traditionally offered to others. If all roads lead to Oz, why do you have to take the same one every time? You aren’t the same person you were the last time you did this, so maybe this style of work suits who you are right now. The fact that you had to do very little tweaking to get this ready to post is a sign that this story is what feels right to you now.
    So smile, thank The Girls, and keep working this way as long as it continues to work for you.

  8. Thus far I am really, really, really liking this story. I liked what I read of Surprise Lily, too. Nita is far less my cup of tea (chacun à son ragoût fin, as my dear, departed first hubby used to say…).

    Hoping you keep barreling along with Anna!

      1. Each to their fine stew. Never heard that expression before. I wonder if there is a play on words with goût (taste) and ragoût (ragoût). « Fin » here is the adjective: refined, delectable … not « la fin », the end.

        1. Yes, it’s a play on words — the original saying is “chacun à son gout” (“to each their (own) taste”, equivalent to “to each their own” in English). My husband turned it into “to each his own fine stew” as correctly translated by @LN…

  9. The girls must have been really busy while you were working hard on Nita and noodling around with Lily. I’m lovin’ Anna.

  10. Every book is a new adventure. I usually write at night. A few have only wanted to be written during the day. I mostly outline, but have had a couple that only worked one chapter at a time. Go figure.

    I’m just Happy you’re writing!

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