Gift Books

November 7, 2008 at 4:44 pm 6 comments

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about these types of books. I know I did mention my NaNo book was given to me on a silver platter, but not what it’s like to write one.

Over night, with a gift book, the compulsion to write is insane. With regular books you might have lulls where no ideas are coming to you and you have to force yourself to sit down and write. Gift books–the scenes come faster than you can write them down. For me at least, while I’m sitting down writing one scene I’m getting ideas for the next two.

The characters in gift books are real from page one. Most importantly they talk to you. There is nothing worse than having a character who isn’t willing to tell you their life story. One whose dialogue is stiltled because you haven’t connected with their real voice yet. It’s painful writing characters like that. As a writer you do learn ways to get into a characters head. But with gift books from the opening line you are in it. You know who owns the story, their conflict, movtivation, and when you are really lucky, the true reasons for their motivation.

It doesn’t surprise me that the two other gift books I’ve had are published. Given How Much You Want to Bet? had to wait for me to have the chops to write that story, but really even without knowing plot, GMC, characterization Gib and Neil were real. They didn’t change as I learned more and was finally able to write it.

Gift books make you believe in the magic of writing and stepping aside. The latter is the most important part. Books suck when the author gets in the way to tell a story their own way, instead of letting the story tell itself. I know, I’ve written some.

So I bet after reading this you are wondering how is my NaNo going. By the end of week one you are supposed to have 11, 669 words written. I have 17, 864. My goal is to have 23k (the amount you are supposed to have by the end of the second week.) It’s hard to write this much in so little time ’cause you do need sleep. You do need a break to let your mind rest, but I’m getting scenes just sitting around doing nothing. I’m going where the story is taking me. I don’t even know if I’ll make the full 50k, but this is a gift book and I’m sure as hell not complaining.

Have you ever written a gift book? What was it like?


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. coffeegirl88  |  November 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    No gift books here, I do have some stories that are just easier to write than others. Of course some of these stories have been around years so I’ve had the time to get to know them.

    I hope you’re doing something to keep from burning out? It’s great that this story is just singing, but I really don’t want to see a brain burnt Dr. Blue round about Thanksgiving.

  • 2. Amie  |  November 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    My second book was a gift book. Considering that i used to easily crank out 10-15 pages a day, 5-6 days a week, getting a gift book probably didn’t register as huge a deal as it should have. Now I’d give my left boobie for 10-15 pages a day and my uterus for a gift book. Srsly *cries*

  • 3. Melissa Blue  |  November 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I hope you’re doing something to keep from burning out?

    It’s exhausation–the physical side of writing like this that will get to me. So recharging my batteries means turning off the computer, taking a nap, bugging my children, cleaning, reading. The only requirement I make of myself is writing the 1667 a day. Anything over that is icing on the cake. I’ve learned my limitations. If I ignore them than I’m lucky to write 100 words.

    So there is a fine line with pushing yourself way too far and doing whatever it takes to get the story written.

  • 4. coffeegirl88  |  November 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    As an all or nothing kinda girl I’m working on doing a little bit of writing then a little bit of something else. That’s why this afternoon I pulled out some sewing and watched a movie.

  • 5. Melissa Blue  |  November 8, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Now I’d give my left boobie for 10-15 pages a day and my uterus for a gift book. Srsly *cries*

    Lol and some hugs. Our experiences are completely different. I couldn’t write 10-15 pages before. I don’t care if I had a whole day laid out in front me. It just wasn’t happening. I think a lot had to do I didn’t plot at all. I didn’t have scenes that had time to simmer in my mind. So now I have a starting point with a scene and then more come to me. Techinically that still makes me a pantser, which I love being.

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  November 8, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    That’s why this afternoon I pulled out some sewing and watched a movie.

    You hit the key to what really works. I don’t know people who can write straight out and not get burnt out quickly. It’s important to step away from the computer and do something else. Otherwise your brain starts to rebel and leaking out your ears.

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