"I hate spunky!"

I read the advice long ago, before the Internet, that the way to get your mind off a submission is to write another book. It's true, I tend to get more anxious when I'm not writing, which isn't very often fortunately.

I tried to outline this new book, but there is only so much I can do before I start writing. The thing I need to do is stay conscious of where the story is going and make course corrections.

I wrote the first chapter yesterday. I wanted an "action" chapter to start it off, just like I did the first two Virginia Reed books.

This one turned out a little different. First of all, it's told from Virginia Reed's perspective. I'm still wondering if I won't end up writing a chapter to put before this one told from the perspective of one of the victims.

Anyway, I knew that I wanted Virginia Reed to be off somewhere by her herself, without her husband Frank, and that I wanted her to be in her Canowiki aspect, fighting monsters.

I started writing it from an Eastern Washington location, the conceit being that she writes a letter home to "Dear husband" about how similar it is to their ranch and how much she misses him.

So I started off in Spokane, for some reason. But within a few minutes, I caught mention of the Marcus and Narcissa Whitman Mission massacre, to the south in Walla Walla, and looked it up, and was amazed to see that it happened in 1847. Since it is now 1851 in my fictional world, it was the perfect situation for Virginia to investigate.

I love that. It's like the universe arranged it for me somehow. It's like I've been given the go-ahead, approval for my scenario, thank you very much.

I'm pretty sure I've assembled the right characters, the right format, and most of all there is a theme that is strong enough to carry a book.

Now I just need to get into Virginia's head, which is fun to do because she's so spunky.

("I hate spunky!" Lou Grant.)