I’m working on a new novel. To be clear, by “working on” I mostly mean “gazing into space” and “playing computer solitaire”. On occasion, though, I do actual plotting. I’ve even created a few characters and half a premise. (Go, me! Woohoo!) The voice is jelling, the characters jabbering, the setting settling in. It’s starting to feel like a book.

It’s such a relief to let go of the old, to be into something new. I’m half here, half in my writing, lost among possibilities, feeling for the shape of the thing, probing, questioning. Anything is possible, but everything is not. Everything is too much. So when new ideas sprout, I turn them over in my mind, maybe stop the stroller or the car or dinner to jot them down in my little spiral notebook. Some will survive. Some won’t. Only time and writing and revisions will tell.

Soon I’ll feel out the story with a chapter or two and, when I’ve dribbled enough, I’ll make an outline because, yes, I’m one of those people, the ones who prefer minor outlines to major revisions, planning to fumbling, plotting to pantsing. Plus, plans just plain make me happy.

In the meantime, though, I doodle in dialogue, half-formed conversations winding down the page, nameless characters asking me, over and over and over again, “What if?” And my answer is, so often, “Let’s see.” Because it’s a first draft, and anything can happen.

I love this phase.