One is that I will always mess up my first attempts at bringing the story to life. Seriously, my poor editor Piya is such a patient saint ...
Another predictable pattern is the Slow First Draft followed by the Frantic Revision Phase, which is usually followed by a Meet The Deadline Race and then the inevitable Post Deadline Stupor.
Good times, good times.
The third pattern? There will always be at least one kid in the story. And the kids will always end up taking it over.
I find this alternately hilarious and exasperating. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I have a lot of kids. The majority of them are now grown and on their own, but there are still two living at home, with many years ahead. (You want to experience your own personal Time Warp? Try listening to your friends make plans for retirement while you're still baking cookies for the middle school PTA.)
Not only that, but long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was an early childhood professional. My Master's degree is in Child and Family Studies. I taught in day care centers. Worked as the director in another. Then I moved on to early childhood teacher training, first with my local child care resource and referral agency, then as a traveling supervisor who observed and guided Head Start teachers working toward a national credential.
So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that kids pop up in all my stories ... or that they usually feature so prominently in my covers. (Even the cover for NOW YOU SEE ME - my only one to show just the couple -featured a heroine who was a single mom.) When something is so much a part of your real life, it can be hard to keep it from spilling over into your writing life.
But I came close.
Starting February 20, I'll have a free online read over on Harlequin.com. I was excited about it for many reasons. I was finally going to be able to tell the story of Cash, the last unmarried North brother: I was encouraged to make it as Canadian as possible; and neither Cash nor the heroine had kids. WOOOHOOO! Nothing but adults ahead! Party on!
Except Cash needed to visit his brother. Who had a toddler.
And then he ended up using a toboggan. Which belonged to his niece.
And then it turned out that the heroine's sister had a baby, who, of course, had to hang out on his mama's hip while she talked to Cash.
It seems there's no escape. The kids are going to follow me no matter what I do.
At least I don't have to feed these ones :-)