Karen Brichoux

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"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


The Anti-Plan

September 11, 2008

Autumn Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux

*Article: The Anti-Plan

Finally! I was crazy enough to sign up to be a beta tester for a new sitebuilder software under development by my website host. After nine months of frustration, the host decided the new software was 98% lemon, and I and all my guinea pig friends have been migrated back to the original software. And there was much rejoicing! I have been unable to send newsletters during this entire time, so if this is the first newsletter in a year or if you received some garbled strangeness that passed for a newsletter once or twice during that year, you can blame me for hopping on to the beta-test wagon.

Article: The Anti-Plan

In "The Way of the Gun," Ryan Philippe’s character says, “I think a plan is just a list of things that don’t happen.”

Where did we leave off? I believe it was at the part where I was very nearly finished with a manuscript. At that point, my plan became a list of things that didn’t happen. However, what Philippe’s Mr. Parker leaves out is that if a plan is a list of things that don’t happen, there must be an anti-plan with a list of things that are happening. I had the anti-plan treatment. From a parent’s illness to a new job to must-do-now house repairs to multiple trips to the vet for mysterious pet illnesses to backed up sewers to appliance failures to surprises good and bad . . . lots and lots of things on the anti-plan’s list definitely happened!

Which only goes to prove that writers put on their pants like anyone else. Well . . . okay, there are days when, like Calvin, I make it to the bus stop *before* I realize I have both legs inside one pant leg.

My computer became dusty during all of this and my inkjet printer became clogged with cat hair and old ink. By the time I re-opened the book file (and fixed the printer), it had been almost four months since I had even looked at it.

However, during those four months, I had been doing something I haven’t done in years. I was reading. Reading entire books in one sitting or in pieces late at night. And as I was reading, I was thinking. About my own manuscript; about what kind of author I want to be when I grow up; about the nature of publishing vs. my own creative nature (and believe me, there is all too often a “vs.” in there).

The result of all this reading and thinking is that when I sat down in front of my manuscript and re-read it, I realized that I had left it behind.

There is something more frightening than finishing a book and sending it out to agents in exchange for form letters. That something is abandoning a book that is less than a month away from completion after you have been working on it for eighteen months. I’ve abandoned many ideas after the first forty to eighty pages. I have set aside completed manuscripts as not being something I want to send out with my name on them. I have *never* dropped a really good idea with really good characters in a well-written book that is a month away from being done. Never. Which means it had to happen sometime.

Wish me luck as I embark on a new adventure! In the meantime, I hope all of you have your own wonderful adventures in the golden days of autumn.