I Owe You One, Pigeon PointMarch 9, 2011
You may have heard the story before, but writing How to Knit a Heart Back Home did not come easily to me. At first, it was a romantic suspense, with a stalker/killer and everything. Then, for about ONE second, Molly was the bad guy (it didn't stick -- I love her too much).
Then I got the green light from my editor to make it straight-up women's fiction, no bad guy/guns needed. Great! I wrote it! Sent it to her!
She liked it. The writing, that was. Not so much the plot, because I didn't HAVE much to speak of. Sure, the characters got mad at each other. I learned (the hard way), this is NOT PLOT. A plot has some sort of conflict that can't be fixed in a fifteen minute heart-to-heart.
I needed to put some of that in, and I didn't know how. I'd written the first book naturally, the turning points just happening in the right places. I'd been lucky. Now I needed to learn.
I took myself away to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, a hostel on the coast south of Half-Moon Bay. Incredibly inexpensively, I rented a private room (shared bath) in the Dolphin suite (shared full kitchen and living room).
I sat there and Thought About Plot. I wandered the beach by myself, looking to see if plot could be found by the water or under a rock. It was so elusive, this plot-stuff. Then, at sunset, sitting all by myself on a deserted beach, I got a glimmer of it. I looked up at the lighthouse, and some more ideas flashed into my head. Nothing huge, nothing that would change the immediate direction of the book, but big enough to let me know I could do it. Probably.
And I'm proud to say I did. I love where the book and I went together. And I am EXTREMELY fond of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, so grateful to it that I gave it the penultimate scene in the novel (set, of course, in fictional Cypress Hollow).
My sister Bethany and I drove out there the other day, and took the dogs for a ramble on the beach. Her dog Boonie and my border collie Clara are serious besties, and they RAN and ran and ran. Beth took this one:
And we visited my lighthouse.
This last from Beth's pictures. Can't you just see You-Know-Who and You-Know-Who-Else up there?
I love that place. (It would be a great spot to hold a retreat -- ten people guarantees you the whole dorm including shared space, and sleeps up to 14.... Just saying....)