What a Difference a Year Makes!

Yeah, I'm a Golden Heart® finalist. Yeah, seriously. I'm thrilled and still having trouble wrapping my head around it. After I got the call, I remembered a blog post on the old blog I wrote in January 2011 about starting the GH manuscript. So I went and found it. Reading it brought a huge smile to my face. Who knew what would happen with this story 14 months later?

I thought I'd repost it because it's so cute.

By the way, for the most part, my initial vision for the story remained intact. I did figure out what Noelle said to tick Tate off, and hilarity most definitely ensued. :)


January 4, 2011

Today is a banner day for me. I’m starting a new manuscript – my third. First drafts are my favorite part of the writing process. It’s when I’m at my most creative and let the ideas flow freely. I have an idea of where I want the story to go, but I love getting that zing when an idea pops into my head that makes the story funnier or connects to another, previously unrelated plot point. I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, so it’s all great fun.

However, this new manuscript is different from my first two. The first two had been rolling around in my head for years. I think 2002 for the first one, Seducing Ms. Right, and 2003 for the second one, Second to None. They were stories straight from my heart. I got to write about football in the first and a The Bachelor-type show in the second. These are two things I know waaaayyy too much about. I knew for years what the central conflict in the stories would be (in part anyway).

This new manuscript idea only came to me in late 2010. I was trying to finish up Second to None, but this story kept poking at me. The title, Tell Me Something Good, came to me first. I think I heard the song on the radio and thought that would make a great book title. The “Tell” part stuck out to me and the first thing to pop into my head were radio personalities. Both my heroine and hero are talk show hosts, working for the same radio station. I know they don’t like each other. They each have not-so-nice (but funny) nicknames they’ve given each other that play off the other’s name. Tate and Noelle are going to be fun to write.

However…I don’t know much else. I’m pretty sure she says something that hacks him off and then hilarity will ensue. I kind of have glimpses of their personalities – she’s a little uptight, he’s the fun-loving flirt. I think anyway. I have an inkling of how the story ends – that idea popped into my head as I drove to work this morning – but other than that, I’m not sure.

Basically I’m entering unchartered waters. I know I want to figure out their motivations and goals before I dive too deep into the story. If I don’t, I’ll have problems. Been there, done that. With Second to None, I managed to write a complete first draft without fully understanding what drove Jeremiah, the hero. Not good. I don’t want to make that mistake with Tell Me.


I have a craft book on characters that I’m going to peruse and use to help shape their personalities and figure out how they complement each other. I’m also going to do basic background sketches, so I know their backstories and, by extension, their motivations.

I hope this helps me avoid some of the pitfalls from the first two books, even though I know there are others waiting for me if only because I’m still learning how to be a writer. I always will be.

But anyway…wish me luck in this endeavor.

What do you do to prepare to write a book? Detailed character studies and plot outlines? Or do you sit at your computer and let your fingers take over? Something in between?

xoxo, Jamie