A couple of months ago, I came up with this killer idea for a new book. Killer, I tell you. If I’m truly going to move on, at least temporarily, from Trevor Wolff, this was the plot to do it with. I loved it. Loved the characters. Loved the concept. Excitement abounded and I could hardly get to work.
Except, this time… I didn’t want to. There was something in my way, something wrong, something stopping me, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.
The epiphany hit me from out of the blue, as the best epiphanies do. I’d originally envisioned my new character, Monica, as a pop star. I had a whole visual thing going for her: how she dressed, her personality, her past, the issues she had to face, what her body type was… the whole kit and caboodle.
Problem was: I don’t know much about pop stars. My very limited exposure to the pop music world wasn’t enough for me to pull this off properly. I needed more, I needed to get un-stuck about the small details of Monica’s pop-star life.
To be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this problem with a female character. To be blunt: pop starlets fascinate me. I’m dying to write a book starring one. I keep trying — and keep running into the same obstacle.
Enter the epiphany. Change Monica’s music. Right now, the hard rock world is full of bands being fronted by women. Ann and Nancy Wilson aren’t pioneers anymore, they’re legends who may or may not have passed into ancient rock and roll history. Instead, we look at Evanescence’s Amy Lee as an old-timer, and we buzz about women like Maria Brink (In This Moment), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and Lacey from Flyleaf — I can go on and on. From where I sit, it’s never been a better time to be a woman fronting a rock band. Never a worse time to be my age and tone-deaf, either, but that’s another story for another time.
As soon as I made this change, got Monica out of her beaded dresses and platform stilettos, it all fell into place and the words flowed out of me.
One small detail. Pop music became Rock and Roll.
And my killer idea for a new book is flowing like crowds do when the doors to the arena are opened: slow at first, but then steadily, packing themselves onto the floor, excitement and anticipation making the air crackle.
Oh, it’ll be awhile yet before you can meet Monica in all her glory. For now, you’ll have to content yourself with Trevor. But remember: he came about in this same, exact way. An epiphany. A flow of words and ideas.
And, always, always, always, with no small dose of Rock and Roll.
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