Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Writer's Path

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

A few weeks ago, after a meeting with my editor, she told me the synopsis of my next book, Call Me Wild, was due on her desk within a week. The next day, a Monday afternoon at 2:00, I emailed the copy edited manuscript of my December release, Wild Thing, to my editor. I had an entire two and a half hours of blissful self-adulation. If I hadn’t be driving my fifteen year-old to dance most of that time, it would have involved a toast, maybe a quiet celebratory dinner with my own domestic god, but my life isn’t that romantic. Instead, I received a high-five from my daughter and spent my evening at her dance school among other tortured dance mothers and fathers.

The next morning in my dentist’s office, I spent fifty minutes being tortured. I endured the second half of a root canal. I thought nothing could be worse than the first half. I was wrong.

If I were ever to write a Romantic suspense, I’d definitely have a deranged dentist as my villain. Mind you, I told my dentist this after he put away his drills. He chuckled softly as he removed my bib. When I touched my ear only to find it numb, I asked if he'd gotten a little carried away with the Novocain. He smiled in that way dentist have when speaking to difficult patients and said. “Did you feel any pain?” The answer of course was no, but was it necessary to numb my whole head and neck?

I wrote my blog with no bib and no drink. I was so numb, I was afraid whatever I imbibed would dribble down my chin without my notice since the entire left side of my head lacked feeling. Is it any wonder that while I lay in the torture chamber called his office, my mind wondered down the path it always does? I call it the writer’s path. It’s the place I’ve visited all my life and used to get in trouble for when I was in school. The teachers remarks on every report card or progress report were always “Robin is constantly daydreaming.” Before your first book—it’s called daydreaming, after—it’s called plotting.

The word plotting has a romantic suspense-like quality to it. You plot murders, you plot clandestine attacks, you plot the overthrow of governments—that sounds a whole lot more exciting than plotting a book. But it’s not.

The books I plot come alive in my mind like a movie running through my brain. The characters I shape are as real as any person in my world although they’re better looking, thinner, and for the most part, vastly more interesting. They’re wittier, funnier, and richer—after all, I write fiction.

While lying in the chair at my dentist’s office, Call Me Wild took shape in my mind. And when I wrote the synopsis, it just spewed out of me onto twelve pages over a long day spent at my Starbucks between a lunch outing and breaks visiting with my favorite baristas.

At 9:30 that night, they closed the doors, locking me out of the store. Since I was only a few paragraphs shy of writing the end, I sat outside at the tables and completed the synopsis. As I emailed it to my agent, I called to tell her the synopsis was on its way. “Where are you?” she asked. I told her I was at 'Bux, my writing nirvana. She informed me that Starbucks had closed a half-hour before. Leave it to my agent in California to know what time my Starbucks in Pennsylvania closes. “Go home!” she yelled, as I packed my computer. “I’ll call you after I’ve read it.” Since it’s an hour and a half drive home, I left and was halfway home when she called back. My agent loved it, thank God!

Even though the synopsis was very detailed, knowing me, Jessie James, my heroine, will probably have a run in with a dentist and come out of his office wondering when she’ll be able to drink without dribbling and how long it will take before she could speak without sounding as if she were in desperate need of some serious speech therapy. I won’t even go into the thought I had about the way a rubber damn feels in one’s mouth when the area is shared with the gloved fingers of a Novocain wheedling dentist—after all this is a family friendly blog, is it not?

It does make one wonder how many real-life experiences make their way into the pages of other author’s books.

If you are interested in a sneak peek of my December release, Wild Thing, the first chapter will be on my website in the next day or two!


Gregory Payne/Alex Carreras said...

I know I keep saying this but I love you! Even your blog entries are insightful and hilarious. Keep daydreaming, for my sake, and many others.

Robin Kaye said...

Hi Incidental Expenses~

Thanks! I don't have much choice when it comes to daydreaming--I tried to give it up since it was getting me in so much trouble at school, but I found I had absolutely no control over it. Thank God, could you imagine how boring I'd be if I had succeeded?

Christie Craig said...

Love it, Robin. I know a lot of my life experiences end up in a book.

oh, I hate the dentist with a passion. I'm not sure I coule read about a bad dentist. I'd have nightmares. Oh, coincidentally, my hubby is at the dentist right now having a root canal. You're blog timing is great. LOL.



Diane Kelly said...

I actually have a wonderful, gentle dentist. He's the husband of one of the women I know from PTA. Last time I saw her it happened to have been my checkup day and I said, "Hey, your husband had his fingers in one of my orifices today." Such language is not often heard at a PTA meeting, but it did liven things up, especially for those at the table who didn't know he was a dentist. : )

Reality does provide great fodder for fiction. My series incorporates a lot of odd things that have happened to me on the job over the years. Isn't it great when weird things happen that you can use in your stories? Of course the details and names are changed to protect the guilty . . .

jthomasross said...

I too was a daydreamer in school. I suspect, these days, a lot of future authors are presumed to have attention deficit disorder instead of creative minds! Daydreaming spawns creativity. Let us dream!