Monday, March 21, 2016
The challenges of writing a book (again)
by Meredith Cole
All of the above.
The last book I've been writing, a standalone called "The Hold Up," has been challenging. The novel has been both a labor of love and, as it turned out, incredibly laborious. I did way too much research, revised and revised a zillion times, and nearly lost my mind. Oh, and got a bit lost along the way.
The first problem was deciding to set my story in 1951. I had to do a lot of research. And I really dislike doing research. I think it's incredibly distracting from the writing process. But I had a lot of questions and I needed to make sure I got the details right.
I've been surprised by how much 1951 was similar to the way we live today (cars, refrigerators, telephones, television...). But the difference really is in the details. The prices of things. The language. The options for women. I ended up doing far more research on bank security and details on life in the 1950's than will ever make it to the final pages. But I survived.
I always try to challenge myself to something new and different in each new book. In this one, I had three main characters, and played with voice and form. I made lots of attempts at things that failed, and then had to find new ways forward. It was incredibly rewarding when it worked, and incredibly frustrating when it didn't.
Still basking in the glow of the Virginia Festival of the Book here in Charlottesville. Got to see fellow Criminal Mind Art Taylor and many other wonderful writers. Such fun to talk about books, grouse about the writing process and the biz, see old friends and make new ones. And have even more books on my TBR list!