Sunday, August 24, 2008


Big Arbor Vitae Lake, WI

I hate packing. I'm supposed to leave for vacation Wednesday morning. Tomorrow night I have a Chicago-North RWA meeting and Tuesday night is loading-the-car night, since we want to leave at the crack of dawn of Wednesday. That means today I need to perform a miracle. I have to find the necessary items that are scattered around the house and organize them neatly so they're ready to go.

Some of the basics I usually haul with are my camera and film, walkie talkies with battery chargers (essential when the DH is out fishing on the lake so I can reach him if the cell phone won't connect), dog food and treats, people snacks, pills, sunglasses, books,magazines to read when I'm not at the casino or writing, cash, credit cards, more clothes than I usually need.

Then we have the long drive up to the cottage near Minocqua, which could take 6-7 hours, depending on traffic. Once we finally get there, it will all be worth it. I'll see my good friend, Jeanne. I'll go on long walks with Rascal. I'll have fun eating at great restaurants, going shopping, and playing slots at Lake of the Torches Casino. The weather even sounds like it will cooperate.

It's the getting ready that's hard. Kind of like getting a book done. I usually start with an idea and know how the book will end.

It's the rest that's a challenge. I need to round out my character, both physically and mentally. Are there inconsistencies in thinking? Have I provided the correct amount of backstory without administering an overdose? Is my character sympathetic at the beginning, or at least by the end of the book? Are the goals realistic? Have I created enough obstacles and conflict?

What about descriptions? When I wrote my romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, I did a lot of online research about Hollywood, Las Vegas, Venice and Paris, so I could depict them accurately. Some people love research. I hate it. I know it's necessary, but it slows me down.

There's lots of details to attend to when I'm getting ready for vacation, also in getting a book ready. Still, the rewards are worth it.

Morgan Mandel
Anyway, you kind of get the picture. There's more to writing a book than just having and idea.

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