Alexa Egan is here today to talk about her writing process and just what it means to go “Driving At Night.”
DRIVING AT NIGHT
E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights but you make the whole trip that way.”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I don’t plot out my books. No outlines or index cards. No chapter by chapter synopses. No collages or Pinterest boards or color-coded file folders. Rather I immerse myself with a vague sense of here’s the premise and characters, here are a few things that might happen to them along the way, and in the end they live happily ever after. Then I set out into the night, headlights on, to find my way toward my destination.
It’s a process that works for me. I enjoy the slow unfolding of characters and the unexpected discoveries and events that happen along the way. But sometimes, the not knowing can bring with it a dry-mouth, sweaty-palms, gut churning fear. Especially when someone (editor or critique partner) says, “So, how are you going to end it?” And I have to answer honestly, “I have no idea whatsoever!”
That’s what happened at the start of WARRIOR’S CURSE, which is due to be released in a few days.
In this third book of the Imnada Brotherhood para-storical series, Gray de Coursy, exiled leader of the Imnada, is the last hope to prevent war among the clans and head off an attack from outside forces seeking to destroy the shapechangers once and for all. But he’s cursed and dying. The noose is tightening, time is running out, and the future looks black.
The culmination of three novellas and three full length novels, Gray’s story answers questions, ties up plot lines, and gives characters their happy-ever-afters or much-deserved comeuppance. But when I began, I had no idea how that would happen. Did I panic? Yes! Did I attempt to change my style of writing in order to push my way toward the necessary climax? Of course! Did it work? Hell no!
So, I fell back to Plan B. Turn the headlights on and just drive. Follow the road wherever it leads, but keep going even if it seems the pavement is going to give out around the next bend. The pages and the miles unrolled behind me. Did I get lost? More than once. Did I run dangerously close to driving myself straight into a wall? Over and over. But when I finally reached my destination, the journey and the story turned out to be exciting, unexpected, and amazing in ways I could never have planned had I charged ahead road map in hand.
They say getting there is half the fun. I say it’s all of it.