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  • Kerry Chaput

My Very Own Dust Cloud


As organized as I am, my brain is a frantic mess of ideas constantly whirling around like a dust cloud.


I've recently finished edits for Chasing Eleanor, my depression-era manuscript. One would think that after a year of rewrites and major word surgery, I would be dying for a break. Truth is, I don't do downtime. I live for those morning hours where I work on my stories. So even a few days without a project gives me a bad case of "what am I doing with my life" blues.


In a drive folder, I keep book ideas. Some are 3 words, others a full page of ideas. They come at me almost every day. While most will turn into nothing, I always have about two or three that float to the surface, bobbing and growing, starting to take shape. Sitting back and waiting until one gives me THAT feeling is incredibly hard for me.


Patience. Not one of my strengths. Just ask my husband.


But that's what my process demands. And I'm convinced becoming a great writer is about honoring your process.


I starting gearing myself up for my first stab at historical fantasy. I have practically the whole story worked out in my head. Character names, setting details, opening and ending image. It started to creep into my dreams, so I assumed that this would be my next project.


Not so fast.


While walking the dog the other day, one of those random stories from my "book idea" folder wiggled its way into the dust cloud asking for attention. And it started to take shape too. This one is dual timeline, set in Scotland. And I'm always in love with anything set in Scotland.


So here they are, competing with another idea that seems to be fading into the background- a 1950s dark comedy that I was excited about but never quite took off. I want to write them all. This is where you have to find that middle ground between what calls to you and what is a marketable idea. And since I also need to manage a full-time job, kids, and general life-y type things, I must choose one.


Oh the pressure.


I like Elizabeth Gilbert's idea that stories are their own entity, and come to us at the right time. It's up to us to listen to the whispers. Each of my books started with a different idea and morphed over time, until the moment that it pops like that little red button on a roasting turkey, and you know... it's go time.


Until that pop, please send books and coffee. My impatience needs a distraction.




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