Jimmy Carter talking to Amy about nuclear weapons, I drag my son out of bed and sit in the dark living room telling him all about it.
I can't tell my wife because it will ruin the book for her before she gets a chance to read it. My son is ten, and already has a good writing head on his shoulders. We swap story ideas all the time. Besides, earlier in the week I told him the whodunit part of my plot (he looked at me with all the seriousness he could muster and told me to never again ruin one of my books for him like that).
The really great part about all this is that while I was sitting there telling my son how I'm going to work this twist into the plot, I realize I've just described the ending to him. I actually said, "Hey, that's how it ends!" I was excited. I've never known the ending to one of my books this far in advance.
With The Night Train, my first novel, I literally wrote the last line and prepared to start the next chapter when I realized the story had ended. With Norton Road, my second, I figured it out somewhere into the final chapter.
I know how novel #3 ends. Even better, instead of sleeping last night, I lay in bed and figured out how I'm going to get there. Okay, so I slept some. I had this nightmare about snakes invading my house and my rifle misfiring when I tried to shoot them, but I lay awake between snatches of sleep and worked on details. I have a clear path from where I am to the end of my novel. And, no, I didn't write any of it down. I'm not a note-taker. It's in my head, though. What if I forget it? Good question. I won't, because it's awesome. You don't forget awesome.
Does this mean I'm getting better at this writing thing? It certainly seems to come easier these days. My goal is for every novel to be a little better than the one before it. Plot-wise, suspense-wise, I think this one will fit that bill. Now my problem is finding time to write it. And a title. Titles come hard for me. Lack of title held novel #2 up for almost a month before it became Norton Road.
I'll think of a title, so I'm not worried. I'll think of one because I have to. I've got time. Did I mention that I know how this book will end?