Why I Wrote Outage

It's been just over a year since I started writing Outage, and I've been getting questions from people that want to know how I came to write it.  They ask me about my inspirations and how I chose the genre and characters.  I never would have guessed that I would forget those things, but I did!

I remembered that a friend and I did NaNo together last year but I couldn't remember whose idea it was, or why we did it, so today I went back through my email to see how this whole thing started.  It's kind of funny re-reading it all because I had no idea what I was doing.  

Here are snippets of some of our conversations, shared so that next time I have to answer questions I'll remember how clueless I was and how spontaneously the whole thing started.  Also, in case I'm ever tempted to romanticize the process or my motivations maybe this will keep me honest.  :)


Me - I'm probably not doing nanowrimo next month.  I'm too unfocused.  My life is blurry.  :)


1:15 PM (fickle) Me - I have decided on the spur of the moment that I will take the november writing challenge.  Since I haven't planned for it I will probably fail, but I need to write.  Are you doing it?

1:19 PM My friend (such a great friend!  Look how she jumps in with both feet) - I will do it with you.  We will compare daily writing numbers. I need to write too.

5:19 PM Me - Now if only i knew what to write about.

8:08 Me - I'm thinking girl (15ish) on grandpa's farm while her parents are off on an exotic vacation when an EMP attack is launched over the US.  Grandpa dies of heart attack, girl has to survive on farm with no electricity, eventually turning it into a refuge for other "orphans" of the attack.

I was thinking of making her a Mormon, but not being heavy-handed with it or making it the point of the book.  It's the kind of thing I like reading.  It just doesn't have anything about it that makes me say, Wow, that sounds amazing.  Or Wow, I haven't read anything like that before.  I hate to go into it thinking it's a mediocre premise.

9:17 PM My friend - Your idea isn't mediocre. That'll come.

10:12 PM Me - The mediocrity will come?  lol


6:42 AM My friend (she's in an earlier time zone, so here's her response the next morning) - LOL not the mediocrity!  The 'pow' moment.

1 AM Me -  I started liking my story better as I went through the outline.  It's still all very standard apocalypse fare, but maybe my characters will make it interesting.  I didn't write any of the book-book tonight because I'm giving myself credit for coming up with the idea for the story and writing chapter summaries for the whole book in just one day.


11:07 AM  And here's a (not) proud moment for Me:  I'm so not a writer, lol.  I just want money.

My friend - Is it fun for you though? It must be fun, or you wouldn't do it! Painting was fun for you. This must be, too, you don't stick to things you hate. And I don't know that you're not a writer, because you write. You've written more than me!

12:45 PM I'm not a total lost cause, since I decided on a noble theme less than 2 hours later.  Me:  I am going to make the importance of family the most major theme.

This was a turning point for me.  Once I figured out that Outage would be a post-apocalyptic exploration of family relationships, I was ready to write.  I didn't know the details and I still had to get to know my characters, but once I defined that theme a lot of things really fell into place.


5:00 PM Me - If I finish I'm going to thank you first in the credits.  I'd never do this if I couldn't complain to you about it the whole time.

11/7/13 My friend - One day I'll actually have a book published and it'll be partly because of you because if I can't talk to you about it I'd never write!

Thank you to my very best writing friend for always having my back and talking me down from all of my ledges.  One of these days I'll put credits in the back of a book, and you'll be the first one I thank.  

And to all aspiring authors - Find a writing buddy.  Mine has made all the difference in the world to me.