Wednesday, January 22, 2014

... MORE WORDS

When I wrote HOW I GREW UP, it seemed it was a story that needed so much to be told that the words poured out. The story was there, and had been for a long time. Recalling events and immersing myself in that period of my life were both fascinating exercises. Learning what my strengths and weaknesses as a writer are was invaluable. I don’t recall ever feeling what’s referred to as “writer’s block.” During the process of writing I don’t believe I once felt what I was doing was a chore. It was absorbing and freeing, and I felt great joy in expressing myself more creatively than I ever had in my life.

The story of HOW I GREW UP was based on an actual event. While some of the events in the story actually took place, some did not. Though some of characters in the story were based on actual people or were composites, others were not, but were products of my imagination.

I’m presently reviewing my second novel, ELI’S HEART, which is a love story and is almost entirely a work from my imagination. Because it covers a much longer time period, it is of necessity a longer book and required many more words. But once again, those words seemed to be at my fingertips throughout the process. In fact, I’ve cut a good deal of what I’ve written over the past five months in order to keep the story moving forward. And still it will most likely be nearly twice as long a book as HOW I GREW UP. When I announced on Facebook that I’d finished the last chapter on New Year’s Eve, I was premature. I completely rewrote the ending and broke what I had thought was the final chapter into two chapters. It works much better!

One of my kind readers, who is a theater friend, keeps reminding me “there’s no opening night” in the process of writing a book. The book is finished when you have a sense you’ve completed the story you wanted to tell. While writing HOW I GREW UP I felt something of a sense of urgency, though I don’t believe I rushed the book. I’m not sure when ELI’S HEART will actually be ready for me to pursue having it published, though I certainly hope to do that. It’s a good story. I’m glad I wrote it. Once again, a lot of kind people have given/are giving me help and support with this one. (Still have a few medical questions on the table for the very kind and supportive cardiologist who’s been nice enough to address those questions.)

I wrote the final pages of the final chapter only a few days ago, and it was bittersweet. I’d lived in this book for months, and I liked being there. I wanted to be sure the ending of the book was right. It took several rewrites of those two pages and some feedback before I finally felt I could let go of it. I think I achieved what I had set out to do: create two believable characters whose lives and love will engage the reader’s interest. People the reader will care about. They have a unique story.

The “work” part starts now: reviewing, cutting, changing, preparing the manuscript for submission. As the director, it’d be nice to have the technical staff take over at this point. However, I’d still want to supervise ... just ask my lighting director and sound techs!