You find a good book, you're up all night. Get stuck with a bad one, you wonder why words were invented.
Writing books is a different curse.
The characters, they get inside your head. Their lives are fluid. Their actions and motivations are limitless. It's like developing a 80,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, only you're cutting each piece individually, painting them one at a time.
There's an inner compass that guides me, something tells me when I'm onto something. A certain energy emanates. Think of the proverbial light bulb flicking on somewhere around the solar plexus. I start with characters, think about what they'll do and why. Develop a general idea of the ending. If it feels dry and empty, if it feels lifeless, I keep cutting. Keeping painting. Until--
I got something.
This time it's The Grinch, a sequel to Claus: Legend of the Fat Man. Problem is, this isn't Santa Claus. The Grinch is trademarked. How grinchy.
That's all right. I can tell a grinchy story without The Grinch. I've got characters that are waking up, keeping me up at night, whispering what they want to do, telling me secrets, revealing their shortcomings. Like a good book, I gladly watch them dance in the theatre of the mind into wee hours. In the morning, I'll scratch out what I remember, regret the stuff I forget.
The journey is just beginning.