Writing, for me, is a process made up of many parts. It generally works like this: I research for a few months, where I glean all sorts of ideas and possibilities; I whittle those possibilities into a baseline plot, wherein some things are known and many more are not–but I at least have a vague path to follow; I write the first two-three hundred pages, throw them out, write them again (often I have to do this two or three times, or, with some books, SIX) and then move forward, editing and revising as I go.
There is something to be said for every one of these phases. Research, where all possibilities beckon and lure and the book is potentially a masterpiece–the best thing you have done or will ever do. Plotting, where the framework of the story begins to settle into place, and you have every confidence that the book will work. The first two hundred, where the characters begin to find their voices and surprise you (hopefully in a good way) with their choices. Editing, where the layers of the story begin to emerge from the rubble.
But my absolute favorite moment of writing any book is that point about two thirds of the way through, when all these little threads I’ve written in without knowing why suddenly weave together. Oh, that’s why she has a brother! That’s why that guy she met at the tavern was a wrestler! That’s the reason I threw in that line on page 47!
None of these little threads are things I’ve planned. When they’re written, I hardly know they’re there, or if I do, I’ve never thought them important, or I’ve written them just because it was convenient to put the character there at that moment, not because I had any intention of making it a Oedipal crossroads. But then there’s that wonderful moment when I surprise even myself, when everything seems to come together in ways I had never expected … that is why I love to write. It’s the moment in every book that I wait for. You might even say I’m addicted to it. And even though I despair many times throughout writing a manuscript, even though I always suspect that moment might never come, it always, always does, reminding me of why I do what I do, and why I love it. It feels like magic every time.
Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. The Best Reviews has said she writes “Fascinating historical fiction.” Her books have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices program and IndiBound’s Booksense. A former television news photographer with a BA from Western Washington University, Megan Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. Find her at: http://www.MeganChance.com.