We’re in the middle of remodeling our kitchen, and it’s a formidable job. So far we’ve torn out a wall to combine two spaces, ripped out most of the cabinets (saving the sink for the last possible moment because life will be much harder without it), pulled up all the hardwood flooring, closed in two doors and created one wider opening, and removed a huge, ugly window to make room for a smaller bay window.
I’ve set up a “camp” kitchen in my living room for now so I can continue to cook meals. Soon my boys will arrive to help us for a week and we hope to make a lot of progress while they’re here. Of course, that also means I’ll be doing a lot of extra cooking.
We’ve run into some trouble along the way, like discovering a colony of mold behind the dishwasher and sink, and finding out the joist that holds up the front part of the house is rotted through. There are other rotten spots as well, which means a lot of work on hubby’s part. But we’ve finished the deconstruction phase and we’re now in the repair and replace phase. Once that’s completed we can start putting things back together into something I hope will look similar to this
So how does any of this relate to writing? I’m glad you asked.
First, there was the birth of the idea. Writers are always asked where our ideas come from. Sometimes we have no clue. They burst fully formed into our brains, sometimes from a dream and sometimes out of nowhere. We mull on them for a while, we make notes, do character sketches. Some lucky souls can actually plot out their stories without losing interest in writing them. (I’m not one of the lucky ones)
For my kitchen, I’d been wanting to do this for a long time. We knew there were rotten spots in the floor. We could feel them when we walked across it. But we also knew there was no way we could afford to buy all new cabinets and appliances. Then my son remodeled his kitchen out in California and it just happened to be the perfect size to fit into my house if we took out that wall. They saved all the cabinets, cook top, ovens, the fancy pantry and the center island for me, and we drove out to California with a trailer and brought them home.
Next came the plans. I drew plans and drew plans for weeks until I had it just right. Kind of like plotting, which might take weeks or months of sketching out scenes, plot points, twists, conflicts, and resolution.
Then the actual work started. Let me tell you, remodeling a kitchen from the joists up is hard work. And so is writing. I grit my teeth when someone tells me, “Oh, I should write a book. It couldn’t be too hard.” Think so? My suggestion, then, is to go ahead and do it. 90% of people who start one never finish it. That’s one thing about tearing out your kitchen, though. You have no choice but to keep going if you don’t want to cook in your living room from now on.
My kitchen project has a beginning, a middle, and an end (I hope!) Books are the same. The beginning is exciting, and fun, in both a kitchen remodel and in writing. Fresh ideas, excitement about the possibilities, and at this point you don’t see the pitfalls just ahead. And just like this kitchen project, the middle of a book is the hardest part to write. Unfortunately, I happen to be at the middle of both my book and my kitchen. Lots of hard work ahead of me for the next few weeks. The end, well, that’s the best part. That’s where your story (or your kitchen) comes together and you see the vision you had coming to life.
There’s nothing better than writing the end of the book, or finishing the kitchen (though I’m still waiting for that feeling). That’s when you want to show it off to everyone and hopefully bask in the praise for a job well done (or for authors, to see those sales climb and good reviews come in).
Have you ever tackled a project like this, where you do all the work yourself? Did you enjoy it, or did you wish every day that you could afford to hire someone to do it for you? There’s a special kind of satisfaction you get from doing things yourself that you just don’t get when someone else does it for you. The satisfaction that comes from seeing your book from idea to finished product is the same. You just sit back and stare at it, thinking, “This is mine. I did this all by myself.” Or at least with a little help from your friends.
My current work in progress is a sequel to Lone Star Justice. Cody finally gets his story!
Here’s a snippet (subject to change during editing)
Cody couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked into the briefing and saw the same blonde he’d nearly run into the day before. She was a new deputy? He wasn’t sure what Rand had been smoking when he hired her, but it must have messed with his head.
Since when did they hire women? And not just any woman, but one with a body that could throw any man off his game. Well, not him, of course. She was cute and all, but not his type. He liked women who enjoyed the same things he did, like hunting and fishing, watching football, hiking through the woods. He doubted she’d ever done anything more strenuous than working out at the gym. How she’d passed the academy was beyond him.
Rand hadn’t given any clues as to why he’d hired her, but Cody sure as hell planned to find out. At least Rand knew him well enough to know not to pair him with her. Cody worked alone. Always had, always would. And when he called for backup, he expected to get an experienced deputy to back him up, not a girl fresh out of school.
Cody headed for the front office, anxious to see if Rand would make an exception for him on the partner thing. If not, he hoped he got one of the guys for a partner. One of the regular guys who knew how much he hated small talk and would be content to leave him to his thoughts.
When Debra handed him his assignment, Cody stared at the piece of paper, sure it had to be a mistake. He even made her look it up on the computer in case she’d made an error and copied the information down wrong. But no, he could see it for himself on the computer screen. Cody Wills and Charlie Booker were now partners.
Seething, Cody stopped by to get the dreaded vest from Linda before storming down the hall to confront Rand. He took a deep breath and forced himself to knock normally rather than battering down the door like he wanted to. Man, could this day get any worse?