I am at the point in the process where I’m tired of looking at the manuscript I’m supposed to be working on. I just want to put this one to bed already and move on to the creation process. For some reason, the editing process does this to me. I procrastinate and I have to force myself to sit down and rework it on the umpteenth walk through. It isn’t that I dislike my story or that it isn’t engaging, it is. I’ve just read it all before; several times before. I’m ready to move on to another part of the overall story or something entirely new.
I have about a hundred ideas stashed away. There are snippets of the better ones in a binder that I work in for such things. Others are in file folders waiting for me to take them to the next phase. Some are just loose pages in a green bin beside my desk that I need to go through and find a filing cabinet to put them in. That’s something that I am lacking since the move that will need to be remedied or I’ll be keeping them in this tote tucked into a closet until I need them again. If I do that, they may end up forgotten but, that’s just a risk you have to take.
I was blessed with an active imagination from a young age. I have snippets of stories and character sketches stretching back to my days in high school when I really began to develop a love of more complex stories and characters. I’m sure somewhere in my grandparents’ basement there are boxes of old journals and notebooks that I’ve stashed away while I was in school. So, I don’t anticipate that I shall be at a loss for ideas for books anytime soon.
As much as I would like to just put the current manuscript aside and work on something else; I won’t. I need to finish it and get it out on the market. There are some perks to being your own boss. There are some drawbacks to it as well. An editor at a publishing house might push me to finish or face a penalty in a contract I signed. As my own publisher, I have to be willing to push myself just as hard, if not harder, to get things done and put the work out to the public. Sure, I can push a deadline here or there but, they never go away. For them to just disappear means that I am giving up on this crazy dream of writing stories for a living. That isn’t about to happen anytime soon.
Maybe it is just impatience on my part. I’m always wanting to plow into something new instead of finishing something that I already have in progress. I’m terrible with endings. It is one of my many weaknesses as a writer. This isn’t because I lack the skill to write an effective end to a story. It is because I get emotionally attached to my characters. I don’t want to see the worlds I created, the people in them, or even their stories to end. And I suppose that’s why I’m happy that so many people have contacted me to say how much they want a continuation of The Secret of the Storm. I actually am excited to oblige the requests and create a series out of Slauson Cove and Elora Castain.
The only real issue, aside from funding the expenses of producing a new book, is trying to finish what I have on my plate before I start working on something new.
Sometimes I wonder if I am the only writer to face this particular problem. Then I realize that being alone in that aspect isn’t likely and I laugh about it and sit my butt back in my chair to put on the editor’s cap once more.
To give readers a bit of a hint about the book that is being released this coming week I want to give you a bit of a sneak peek at the characters you’ll be meeting in The Secret of the Storm. To that end, I’m going to talk a bit about the main character in this book and how I created her and the fictional town of Slauson Cove. And forgive me if this seems vague but, I don’t want to give too much away for readers.
I spent a lot of time in my teens and twenties traveling the USA and into Canada. In fact for a while, I think my family feared that I would be a permanent nomad instead of settling down like they had hoped for me. During that time I did a good deal of traveling specifically in New England; visiting places like Cape Cod, Massachussettes and Newport, Rhode Island along with Philadephia, Boston, and New York. There were various things about these places that stuck in my mind and continue to do so today. Slauson Cove came from taking all of those elements that I came to love and weaving them together into a fictional place. From the local college campus coffee house to the stately historical homes, Slauson Cove was a bit of an ideal place for me. A conglomeration of all the things I had loved about New England towns. The lighthouses, the rocky beaches, and the quaint cottages.It wasn’t hard to imagine this town in my head with its sprawling hub of a town square and historical landmarks some of which aren’t put into the book at all.
You see, when I started creating this world there were so many details to the town and the people that comprised it that I wrote detailed descriptions of shops, offices, and even minor characters that come into play like the shopkeeper and his son that Elora meets when she is setting up shop at Walsingham Manor. The buildings in Slauson Cove have histories that are largely unknown but were important in my creative process. Coming up with the concepts are easy. Bringing them to life on the page is more difficult than people think. While you don’t use all the details in the manuscript, as the creator, you have to have them in your mind in order to keep things in a continuous flow. So in preparation, there was a good amount of “back-writing”, as I call it, so that those details were there if I needed them.
With characters it is much the same. I did extensive sketches of my main characters. When you meet Elora Castain she is a reporter for the Boston Globe who has worked her way up the ladder but, she is somewhat burned out on the job. It was never her real passion and the circumstances that she finds herself in give her a way out to explore her creative side. She’s more than happy to take the risk of starting over in her career in order to explore that part of her life.
I had an editor in the refining stages tell me that Elora came across as far too naive to be in the position she was in and living in a metro area like Boston. Personally, I refuse to think that there are not naive people living in bigger cities like Boston but, for the sake of the story I tried to rewrite certain elements in order to give her that city-girl edge at first. But with Elora, there is a sort of innocence that had to be explored. She discovers so much about her family’s history in such a unique way that it was, for me, important that the vulnerability show.
For Elora I did a number of sketches. I even wrote letters back and forth between me and the character that asked questions about her lifestyle, what she did know, what she felt when she discovered certain aspects of the history, and how she felt about the slayings in Slauson Cove. It was an eye-opening exercise that was used in another project that I was working on during the same time with a co-author. So, as people read the book, I might just release some of those research and developmental writings if people want to read them.
In my notebook there are sketches for characters that I didn’t even introduce in the book. There are notes for a sequel since so many of my beta readers wanted more after finishing The Secret of the Storm. Weigh in as you finish it and let me know if you’d like to see another volume. I’m open to the possibility of revisiting Elora and Slauson Cove. For now, get a sneak peek with the digital version via Amazon for the Kindle. It is available as a pre-release and the print version, if you prefer, is on the way soon.
I have been so super busy between work, discussing options, and writing that I hadn’t even realized that it had been a month since I updated this blog. This isn’t a bad thing for me. In fact, it means that things have been going very well for me. New relationships, new job (that I actually enjoy), writing projects are going well. Other than being sick yesterday, I have only minor complaints about my life at the moment. Those things that I am complaining about will be rectified soon enough.
There is something exciting about moving from one phase of your life to another. And I will admit that if you’d told me where I would be a year ago, I would likely have just laughed and replied, “Yeah, right.” But, here I am. And truth is, I am happier than I have ever been. I have so many amazing things in my life now that I couldn’t have had before. I attribute these changes to 3 things:
- 1. My acceptance of my faith and putting my trust in God to direct my life.
- 2. My realizing how utterly unhealthy my last relationship was and having the courage to do what I needed to do to get out of it.
- 3. My amazing family who have been such a tremendous support system through all of this.
Honestly, one should never underestimate the importance of a good family. I’m not saying that every family is a good one. Certainly, there are some dysfunctional ones that you may be better staying away from but, I am blessed with at least one side of my family being awesome and I try to not take advantage of their support. They may not understand everything I do but, when a decision is made – no matter how they may talk me out of making that decision- they do their best to support it.
I am still working on that balance though. Between the part time work, spending time with family, and writing it gets a little strenuous on my time. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My time is spent doing things that I love and with the people I love. So, there isn’t much more in life that I can ask for. Well, with a couple of obvious exceptions in my neck of the woods.
As I write this, I’m on my lunch break from the day job excited that I’ll get more hours than normal this week. There are lots of things that I am looking forward to doing with the money; goals that I will be able to reach faster. I’m working on edits for the book and will be making some announcements on it soon (I hope). I’m developing a game plan, which is something that I’ve not had in a long time. I think things work better when you have some sort of plan and organization method.
I’m so proud right now though. One of the amazing parts of doing what I do is watching the difference it makes in the lives of the kids around me. I participated in the Young Author’s program when I was in school. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that my niece and my god daughter both have followed suit and won awards in their age group. Needless to say, I’m a proud Aunt at this point. It also motivates me to continue working on my own projects. It truly is amazing what influence a child can have on your life, even if they are not your own. Just knowing that they want to emulate you is enough to make you want to be the best person you can be.
Now, I am trying to work on getting my life in the order I want it to be. I’m trying to organize things for my work and jut for life in general. I have two projects to put to bed and I have others that are just getting started. I also know that I’m going to be moving again soon and setting up a new office in the process (along with the rest of the house) and I am trying to simplify and get things in order. That, my friends, is sometimes easier said than done.
Life is good though. I’m happy and working away on projects while spending time with the amazing people in my life and working at a day job that I enjoy. So, I can’t really ask for more than that at this point. Well, maybe I could ask for these edits to be done already but, that’s just part of this writer’s life.