I’m a big believer in signs.
Not those kinds of signs, although the one in the lower right corner is cool. No, I’m talking about messages we receive when we need them most.
Take today, for example. I’ve been struggling with how to end my current series. “Paranormals are dead,” everyone says. “Stay away from paranormals, but if you don’t, for the love of God, call them something else.”
My first novel includes paranormal elements that I’ve always planned to wrap up in my third novel. But with the dire warnings about current trends, I’ve hesitated. Who wants to spend a year writing a book that won’t sell? So I put on my thinking cap (a glengarry, of course) and tried to come up with alternatives. Several other plots came to me during this time, but not the one I needed most.
The most natural plot—the one that haunted my dreams and commuted to work with me during the past month—always included paranormal elements. It’s a damn good plot. Still, I ignored it.
“You can’t not write it, Jules,” my critique partner said.
She’s right. And I was thinking about that this morning when I started my car and Natasha Bedingfield greeted me with these words:
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten.
It’s a sign, and I’m following it as surely as I’d follow that sign to the kilt inspection station. Who knows if I’ll be successful, but as my critique partner says, I can’t not write the story I want to tell. Anyway, if it bombs, I’ll just blame Natasha. And burn my glengarry hat.