Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Long Road


Three years ago this week I finished the first draft of my novel, The Cold Distance. A year and a half ago I started shopping it to agents and publishers having done major edits and expansions and cuts and all the things that a writer is supposed to do to a book in progress.

I got a couple of interested bites but ultimately nothing came of it.

Last  month I began rewriting the story from scratch based on an informed reading by a very good friend who is also an editor. If you follow the blog here you know all this.

What  I've been struggling with is the pitch for this new product, this new book. This  morning, three years after starting this damn project, it hit me like a 16 ton wrecking ball. I know who my main character is, I know why she's important and I know EXACTLY  how it all fits together and WHY.

The light has gone on and I'm surveying the wreckage of wasted time over the last three years where I could have been writing THIS fucking book and not all the other stuff I've written in the meantime.

Except, he said with humility, that I had to travel all those other roads before I could get to this one. Or whatever metaphor floats your boat. Either way, I had to do all that other work to figure out why Dee was special to this story, this universe. I have the word that identifies her and makes her a nearly complete character now.

All  because it took so much damned time to marinate in the back of my head. 

As it dawned on me this morning on my commute, I was angry at myself for not seeing it so clearly before. What the hell was wrong with me that I couldn't have made this leap before?

I don't know. Maybe it would have hit me sooner if I'd spent more time with the characters and actively pursued the questions that I've been looking at over the last four weeks. Maybe not. 

And that's what makes this whole writing thing beautiful, this act of creation that requires inspiration to shudder forward. It takes time and energy put together in sometimes very complicated ways before results are evident. False positives abound. 

Regardless, the novel is moving along and my excitement is in direct proportion to my having finally figured out what I needed to know long ago. Expect regular updates over the coming weeks as I turn this treatment into a series of novels. I'm all in on this one again. While you're waiting breathlessly (because I know you are) enjoy this: