I like maps, planned destinations, hotel reservations, heated pools and chocolate croissants. I like research and travel books and poring over online reviews and intimate knowledge of space and place before I get there. And yet somehow the best part of the journey is always the unplanned detour or the unexpected stop. It’s there I find the ultimate souvenir, the perfect picture or the barbecue ribs worth dying for.
When I got the idea for HitList, it wasn’t so much that I found it, as it found me. I was just merrying along, writing my Well-Planned Book (about something else entirely), when The Beast (aka HitList) came, knocked me across the teeth and took over my brain.
I was helpless to stop. I knew it derailed me, but there was something so compelling about it—I couldn’t look away. Each word made me eager for the next. I couldn’t stop writing—I had to find out what happened. And this experience showed me that while there are intentions, plans and plots, there is the thrill of riding the story and letting it take you. Amazingly, by the time The Beast left, I had a book–a better book than the one I’d planned.
So, I was not completely surprised when some innocent and well-intended research on my current WIP turned into something else. The Nefarious Google Beast blindsided me and dragged me into an alley, where it threw me in the trunk of a waiting car. I was just sitting there, staring at something on Google maps and one thought led to another, which led to a sentence, and turned into a page and I’m starting to wonder if there might be a book attached.
It may only be a short story, it could be a meandering diversion down the rabbit hole and back, but right now I simply can’t wait to get to the next sentence. Oh, what next? What next? Where are you taking me, Nefarious Google Beast?
I may end up miles away next week with nothing to show for it but a short story and a tattoo I don’t remember getting, but heck…I think I’m gonna go along for the ride.