It’s the book that I wrote about here, that would have been Rebecca Hearts Paris, but now has a working title of Cherry Season after I read this in a novel called The Ingredients of Love: ‘My father loved the chanson about the “Cherry Season”, so lovely and over so soon – a life-affirming and at the same time somewhat melancholy song about lovers who find and then lose each other.’
That may be – sort of – what the book’s about, but I’ve only done the first draft so nothing’s fixed just yet. I’m taking a couple of weeks to let it ‘stew’ before getting back to it and I actually can’t wait. I don’t know why, but I absolutely loved writing this book. I’ve always enjoyed writing as I was writing, if you know what I mean, but have pretty much always had to force myself to do it. (And then I’d tweet things like “I LOVE writing! Why do I always forget?”) But this time, I didn’t have to force myself to write. Sometimes I actually had to force myself to stop. For a while there, I was writing about 2000 words a day and at the halfway point I gave myself a week off to read over what I’d written and then ignored myself and carried on writing anyway.
I don’t know what was different this time, but I suspect – and it pains me to say this since I’ve always been a pantser – I suspect it was because I did a bit of plotting. Thanks to First Draft in 30 Days – which I did half-heartedly last November instead of NaNoWriMo – I had more of an outline than I’ve ever had with any other book. So when I sat down to write, I knew what I was going to write rather than sitting down and thinking “Now what?”
The thing is, though, I didn’t have an enormous amount of plot, I just had a one page synopsis and a few notes. As I wrote and other things occurred to me, I noted them down too, so that I knew where I was going. Plotters will be reading this going, “Well, DUH!” but it was so helpful. My friend Diane loaned me a book called Billion-Dollar Kiss by Jeffrey Stepakoff that includes this quote from a TV writer, Joe Dougherty: ‘A story outline is like a map. It should be detailed enough so that you know where you’re going, but vague enough so that you can make discoveries along the way.’
That’s how it was for me with this book and it worked really really well. (I’m saying that now. When I go back and read it in a couple of weeks, I may decide it really didn’t work at all, but for now I’m happy.)
I love the new title, Cherry Season (of course, if it is published, that may not end up being the title). I’m a bit obsessed with cherry blossom (all kinds of blossom, in fact) and look forward to seeing it every year. It always signifies new beginnings to me and that’s what I hope I’ll have with this book. Plus it gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite ever photos of Joe…