Please welcome back debut author Peggy Blann Phifer with the fourth installment of the story of her journey to publication. Don't forget to leave a comment after any post in the series to be placed in a drawing to win a copy of Peg's wonderful novel, To See The Sun.
Missed previous posts in the series? Simply click the links below:
In my last post on The Over 50 Writer, I ended with:
So I (figuratively) packed up my bags and brought Tori to Vegas, changed her name, and worked from a whole different perspective.
DIGGING IN AND MAKING IT WORK
We had a salesman in our house several weeks ago. We were looking into buying one of those Jacuzzi Walk-In Tubs, so we set up an appointment to check it out. What do you think he asked midway through his presentation?
"So, do you guys do any gambling?"
Ah, the ever-present "outsider" impression of Las Vegas. And therein lies "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say.
After figuratively bringing Tori to Vegas, I still struggled with "finding" her. She wasn't talking to me. Again. But her best friend, Maggie, was. Only she is Magie, now. She told me she was the music teacher, not Tori. She also told me that the name of her young friend was all wrong. It was Erin.
Say what? But then I got to thinking of my heroine as Erin and things started to take shape. We'd brought her husband along, but I needed to off him quickly if I wanted to pull off the romance I had in mind. So that was Erin's first crisis . . . losing her husband . . . shortly after they'd learned she was pregnant with their first child after trying for seven long years. Crisis number two: facing life as a single mom.
Okay, the story took root and I had a bare-bones plot roughed out with sticky notes and several constantly running brainstorming rambles in Notepad and Word. Not an outline, mind you. Just random thoughts scattered all over the place, but that works for me. I'm a "Pantser" (seat-of-the-pants writer) and the mere thought of
laying out a plot gives me the screaming meemies.
I've mentioned this in a number of other guest blog posts, and even in the acknowledgement page in the back of the book, but I'll say it again here. During my years in Corporate America, I did a lot of telephone work. And every time I'd introduced myself with "This is Peggy from (company name) in Las Vegas," I'd get an immediate response like the Jacuzzi salesman I mentioned above. Or, more often, "Win any money lately?"
As my story progressed, I became determined to keep my characters away from all that. Away from "The Strip." My objective was to show my readers that there was a different side to Las Vegas. A Las Vegas where families live and raise their children. Get up and go to work and school. Yes, there is life beyond Sin City, and it's not always nice. Not always Happily Ever After. And TO SEE THE SUN has its share of murder and mayhem, without the gambling and casino ever entering the picture.
By the way, we didn't buy the Jacuzzi.
Come back on Thursday, October 18th for more insight about the writing life from Peggy, based on her personal experience.
Don't forget to leave a comment with your email for a chance to win a copy of Peggy's debut novvel, To See The Sun.