So, for me it was a no-brainer when asked to participate in the blog tour for this all-too-awesome book. Today, I am so excited to welcome the amazing Jackie Morse Kessler, author of the series, to my blog. And what, pray tell, is she going to post about for us today? Well, I'm so glad you asked! Take the floor, Jackie!
Why Getting Sidetracked Can Be Good
When I first started writing LOSS, I knew, just knew, that Robin Hood would have to feature prominently. The protagonist of the story, a bullied teen named Billy, is given the bow of Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Pestilence is an archer—and hey, that meant that Robin Hood would have to come into the story! Brilliant!
Except it didn’t work out that way.
The entire second section of the book was supposed to be about Billy’s trip into the past, searching Sherwood Forest for the elusive White Rider, also known as Pestilence. Billy was going to hook up with Robin Hood and the Merry Men, learn a little something about himself, and eventually find what he was looking for, but not in the way he’d imagined. I actually wrote about three chapters of this part of the story. They were good chapters. Solid.
And completely wrong.
I knew this because I hit a wall and couldn’t write another word. For me, writer’s block happens when my forebrain has taken the story all the way down a path that my back brain knows won’t work. Man, that sucked. I wanted to write. I tried to write. No writing happened.
But…as I tried forcing the Robin Hood part of the story to happen, something else was going on. I was doing research about plagues and other diseases through the history of the world. I didn’t have a reason for it; I just started Googling about infectious diseases, and soon I had an entire notebook’s worth of notes, a page per plague. I had no idea what I’d do with the information; it certainly didn’t fit in to the spiffy outline I’d written for the book. But it was fascinating stuff, totally worth getting sidetracked over.
So there I was, with the book due in two months, and the story wasn’t working. I decided to try something radical: I threw out the outline, whipped out my notebook full of pox and other sicknesses, and started writing. And I wound up using all of the research that had fascinated me. The second section of LOSS is still about Billy’s trip into the past, but in a completely different way…with very different results. We get to see so much more about the previous White Rider this way. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
And it was all because I let myself do research that, I thought, had nothing to do with what I was writing.
Sometimes, it’s worth throwing out the outline. (Just don’t tell your editor!)
And now...the generous Jackie has offered a great giveaway!
LOSS by Jackie Morse Kessler came out YESTERDAY!
One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS — and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS — and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.
TO ENTER: You MUST be a follower to enter this giveaway, please! Leave a comment about what you think the best part about getting sidetracked is for you. Please leave your email address and give yourself a +3 in your comment if you tweeted it or liked the lil' ol' facebook from the link on the right. This giveaway ends at midnight EST on Friday, March 30! Good luck, all!