WIP–Starting Over–Day One

Ahhhh. . . four wonderful hours at the Opium Den this morning. Me, all curled up in a cushy purple chair with a maple oat nut scone, too many cups of coffee, and a fresh pad of yellow lined paper. Heaven.  I’m serious!
My subconscious and I work so well together sometimes! Since I am working on both story and character simultaneously at this early point , here’s how I spent my time. I skimmed/read/skipped through parts of Gail Saltz’s book, THE ANATOMY OF A SECRET LIFE. Ideas came to me as I read and I wrote them down. It’s such a strange and interesting thing that happens when you’re lucky enough to be blessed with an out-of-control imagination. If anyone read my notes and also read Saltz’s book, they’d never connect the two. It’s just that reading anything short of cereal boxes at this point in the process inspires new ideas. It’s such fun.  I know the central players now, but they are pale shadows of who’ll they’ll become. A new and intriguing character came to me who will play an important role, and some of the plot twists are popping into my brain.
I’m trying to make three very important decisions: who is the central character, the protagonist? who has a POV (point of view)? and will I write in first or third person?
The answer to the first question should be obvious, one would think. Who’s story is it? Who has the most at stake? But I am frankly not yet certain. Is it the mother, as yet unnamed? Is it her seventeen year-old-daughter? Her fifteen-year-old son? They’re fighting inside for the right to be most important. They’ll have to fight a little longer.
The POV question is also unsettled for me. Definitely Mom has a POV. And definitely daughter. Does son? Does the new intriguing character, who lives elsewhere? Not sure yet.
First or third person? Oh, dear. I’ve written one book from first person, using three different characters. That was THE BAY AT MIDNIGHT. I absolutely loved writing in first person. It puts me instantly closer to the characters. And BAY will be re-released in paperback on the 29th of August, so it’s foremost in my mind right now. Plus, I’m reading Jodi Picoult’s MY SISTER’S KEEPER, also written from several POV’s, all in first person, and I love getting snugly inside each character’s head. The bottom line is. . . the characters will let me know. One of them will start speaking in first person and I’ll know I have no choice. Or else a third person narrative will drift into my mind and make the decision for me.
So, as you can see, I have a lot of decisions to make tomorrow morning at the Opium Den. I can’t wait to curl up with my subconscious again.   


  1. Margo on August 15, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Ahhhhhhhhhh Diane, I know exactly what you mean…I love being in my art studio with my huge mug of coffee (preferrably Starbuck’s or Gary’s French Roast) paints and canvas just waiting for me to create…I get in touch with my subconscious mind all the time when deciding what I’ll do next and it’s a WONDERFUL experience…I’ll sketch and make notes, doing ‘thumbnail’ paintings before starting on the large canvas and I’m so involved I don’t even hear my husband talking to me, or the phone ringing!!…I really understand why you call it ‘heaven’ because it is!!…Whether you decide to write in 1st person or 3rd, it will be a gift to us because it will come from your soul…I LOVED the 1st person narrative in BAY AT MIDNIGHT and felt the very essence of place…I was ‘right there’ with those characters as I thought back to my growing up years at a summer cottage by the lake with my sis and parents…it was wonderful reading and in honor of the trade paperback release of this book on the 29th, I’m going to re-read my copy of THE BAY so I can go back in time once again…

  2. Brenda on August 15, 2006 at 10:34 am

    I agree with Margo-just reread BAY for the second time this summer-in the midst of read grad books.
    I can’t imagine waiting until the paperback is out-but I usually do for OTHER AUTHORS.
    I have to give away many books because there is no room but not D.C. Also, with grad school, I am non a budget and have to buy only a few authors now-rest I will read at library-D.C. is one of my four…
    Margo-can you imagine anything more enjoyable than a rainy day, an afghan, a drink (hot tea or d. cola for me), and D.C…taking us away from it all??????

  3. Margo on August 15, 2006 at 10:51 am

    Your SOOOOOOOO right Brenda!!…my favorite days are curled up on the sofa (leather, sorry LOL!!) with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa and a Diane C. book with a rain storm outside or a snow blizzard!!…sure am going to miss one of her books in February when it’s always snowing outside but I’ll just pull one of her earlier ones off the shelf and re-read it again…I too own ALL Diane’s books and won’t part with them for anything…I always put my name on a list at my fav bookstore to reserve her newest hardbound copy each year…(-:

  4. Diane Chamberlain on August 15, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    You guys are sooo sweet. I feel weird not having a book out this February, too. That’s what happen when you have big life changes, like moving to a new state and merging households with someone. I can’t believe we’ve been in this house an entire year and still have only one picture on the walls! I hope some day we’ll settle down.

  5. brenda on August 16, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Big life changes..I left my SAFE job and went to another county and worked in two high schools last year-no prep period and no lunch…I think it was a bit much so I am going to leave THAT safe job-but stay in same county-and get this after the last ll years in HS, I am going to do a small middle school-language arts…no kidding…I did 7th grade my first year teaching (S. Carolina) in 1994…have done high school there and here since–however, I think 9th grade-the hardest to teach.
    So-my year-working on comps, etc., and a new school-new lesson plans-will slow me down…
    Good luck on book.

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