If Walls Could Talk: Remembrance of the…M.H. Norris

M.H. Norris

On my Facebook timeline, the last week or so, I’ve had some fun “On This Day” things show up. For example, two years ago today, I was at my first Comic Con. Two years ago yesterday, I met David Tennant. Two years ago last week, I got to announce that Notches was coming soon. Two years ago later this month, it was released.

So it was three years ago right now that I was writing my first book, “Badge City: Notches.” Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been that long and sometimes it doesn’t feel like quite that long.

So how did I go from the initial concept at the end of January 2014 to turning in the manuscript on May 1 of the same year?

Somedays I’m trying to remember how I pulled that off. That and that ending… I would love to know how I did that and do it again but I don’t think I’m going to get that lucky.

As I sit here and write this, I’m watching an old episode of Criminal Minds. If memory serves, this was in it’s ninth or tenth season when I was writing Notches and I watched them all while writing it. There’s some things tucked in there that James noticed that I didn’t at the time because I wrote it while watching this show.

One of my favorite things to do after watching a show (especially one that’s run at least five seasons) is to watch the pilot after having watched the show and see how far characters have come.

What goes into a story?

No seriously.

I sit here week after week covering bits and pieces and whatever musings come to mind. But sometimes I even have to be reminded myself of what makes up a story.

Characters, plots and subplots, beginnings, middles, and ends.

Facebook has been reminding me the last few weeks of first experiences for me. It’s hard to believe that years ago some of this stuff I take for granted knowing I had to learn. And isn’t that the joy of this profession we all love?

We’re always learning. Whether it’s research for the next book or something for a new character or just because we went on a rabbit trail because an idea popped into our heads and we honestly don’t know if it’s even going to make the cut or not.

Because I’ve been there and done that.

So what have I been doing this week with my writing?

I’ve started a couple of projects, begun to outline a third and got edits back from yet another. And I’ve seen all sorts of posts from myself, from friends and family, all showing me days of auld lang syne.

Though seriously past Mary Helen, if you want to let me know how you managed to write the climax of Notches, I’d love some insight.

I’ve written tons of posts gushing about how fun the beginnings of stories are. That stage where they’re just an idea and you haven’t tried to write a whole lot of it yet and there’s all sorts of “well what ifs” floating around.

But it’s also hard. That’s the first thing people see and it’s one thing to write the first scene. It’s another to write the second.

The first scene is where you write a hook. What’s going to be on the first page when people catch the summary on Amazon and judge the entire book based on it (yes, I’ve done it).

But the second and third scene (the rest of the first chapter really) is where you win over the ones who give you a chance.

Because I’ve also been the one to sit a book down before the end of the first chapter because the first page might have been good but it went downhill from there.

That’s one thing I struggle with in my writing. I feel like with every project that goes by, with every story that comes out I raise the bar on myself a little higher and then higher still.

How it feels.

That’s not to say that as writers we shouldn’t set the bar high for ourselves, but we truly are our own worst critics.

So, this week, these walls are feeling nostalgic and they’re looking at how high the bar is set for these upcoming projects.

Guess it’s time for me to swing high.

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