I'm Just Saying…

April 21, 2010

It All Begins With a Question…

Secret Author Confession: one of the biggest fears I have as a writer is that I will run out of stories to write. That I will come to the end of a project and take a tiptoe through the tulips of my mind searching for my next story and find nothing but scorched earth and a stray weed. It’s so quiet you can hear the crickets chirping. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this nail-biting little problem… am I?

When I was finishing For Better or Worse I was already pondering what to do next. One idea will give me a straw to hang on to (and the eye twitch usually abates).  Two ideas and I can feel my blood pressure lower. Three ideas and I can put away the supersized Excedrin PM bottle. I’m going to be okay. 

To say I had three ideas is a bit misleading. Actually, I had questions. This may sound self-serving but when I write a book, I’m usually trying to figure something out that’s been bugging me. Writing the book may not give me any answers but I get the chance to explore the issue; and it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

In Project Jennifer, I truly wondered if having a different name would have meant a different life, a different personality, a different destiny. Here’s a piece of trivia: I was originally supposed to be named Jennifer. My father said no to Jennifer and I wound up as Jill. I can only imagine the possibilities. “I could’ve been a contender”…

In For Better or Worse, I questioned the nature of power, emotional and psychological, in relationships. In short, the battle for the upper hand. So I wrote about three couples; one couple who fights over power, one couple where the husband has all the power (and misuses it spectacularly) and one couple that chooses not to fight over power. Who had the best relationship? Good question. I have my choice but readers may not agree.

For my next project I finally settled on Deciphering Bella. And what question captured my attention? In actuality, it’s a question born of a statement. A statement I had been hearing quite frequently. Lately, I keep hearing of couples having difficulties, I should say, one partner in the marriage is having difficulties, accident, illness, problems through no fault of their own and out of their control. The comment I keep hearing in regard to the other partner is “He (She) didn’t sign up for this.” My question: What does that mean? How much does a marriage partner sign up for? When is the point where it becomes too much? (That’s more than one question, I know).

Deciphering Bella is the story of Isabella Hitchens, a young woman recently married and settled happily, by all appearances, with her husband Mark. Shortly after the marriage, Bella begins to exhibit disturbing signs of emotional and mental instability, instability that is a result from a painful past she has concealed from her husband. Deciphering Bella is as much about Bella as it is about the marriage of Bella and Mark. Although I always have an outline in mind when I begin, a story changes, almost organically; it grows into something more than when I first began. As I write Deciphering Bella, I am interested to see how Mark handles Bella’s problems and what his response will be to the notion of “I didn’t sign up for this.” 

 As a writer, you always hope that readers will be as attached to your characters as you are. I am still getting to know Bella and Mark but I am already attached to them. I hope you will be too as you get to know them.

J.

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4 Comments »

  1. The fear of running out of stories to write is the worst for me. Every time I finish work on a story or a blog post I hit this wall that screams, “That may have been the last.” So I get busy doing other things. And then an idea will hit me at the strangest times. So I write it down, in the middle of the night, in a restaurant, walking down a street, because thoughts and ideas are fleeting. Like a dream, if I don’t write down an idea, it slips back to the unconscious.

    Comment by Darrelyn Saloom — April 25, 2010 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  2. I recently started my first blog, and I’m tormented with this fear. I have several drafts saved and I worry they’ll be the last. Like Darrelyn, ideas arise at random times, reminding me there’s an abundance of ideas & no need to fret. I’m sure to have a pen & notebook wherever I go, just in case.

    I was also supposed to be named Jennifer! My mom changed it to Jenny when the lady across the street delivered her baby first and named her Jennifer. People assume my full name is Jennifer. This drove me nuts as a child. My friend Krista was supposed to be named Jennifer too, but her mom named her after the kind nurse who helped deliver her.

    Is Project Jennifer a book? As a fellow almost Jennifer, I’m interested in this idea. I’ve often wondered it myself.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Jenn — April 26, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  3. I found Project Jennifer on your website. I’m definitely adding it to my “to read” list.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Jenn — April 26, 2010 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  4. Hey Darrelyn and Jenn, Thanks for your comments! Nice to know I’m not alone out there and we’re all sharing the same feelings! Jenn, thanks for looking up Project Jennifer. I hope you enjoy it!

    J.

    Comment by jillamyrosenblatt — April 27, 2010 @ 1:20 am | Reply


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