The Journey of a Thousand Pages

Teach-English-AbroadAnd the journey of a thousand pages (or more) begins with a single word. Followed by other words. Then even more. Sometimes, it’s like running downhill, or soaring on an uplifting wind. Other times, a lot of times, it’s more like scrabbling on torn and bloody hands and knees, up a steep incline littered with sharp-edged rocks, while being pummeled by even more rocks. Hot ones. From, say, a volcano.

Yeah, a bit like this.

Yeah, a bit like this.

If you’re very lucky, like Frodo, you have someone like Sam Gamgee to carry you. Or, more likely, to give you a good swift kick in the arse when required, or perhaps a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to, or a brain to pick.

My Darkness & Light Trilogy came to its conclusion last month with the release of Edge of Darkness (though, why Amazon is listing only the first two is a mystery yet to be solved). That journey, truly, began back in grade school, when I first decided to start penning some of the stories the voices in my head were trying to relate. More specifically, BD&L as it was first referred to, all began some time after 2006 when I said, “Enough is enough. If you’re going to keep on with this writing thing, it’s time to get serious and actually finish something. Either do it. Or set it aside. No more half measures.”

See, my muses and I hadn’t been talking for a great stretch of years. Other things pushed them aside. It royally pissed them off, and made me very unhappy. So, I put down that first word. I struggled, floundered, waffled, all while enticing my muses back to join me. In September of 2011, I took a step out of my comfort zone and announced to those who stumbled upon my burgeoning blog that I was a writer. A month later, I declared I was finished polishing First of Her Kind and ready to start querying agents.

That went… nowhere. In May of 2012, I wrote one of my favorite posts on the journey, Teetering On the Brink. I thought First of Her Kind was truly ready. Or, rather, I was content with it. Thank the muses for Sage of the South! He pushed me so hard through that first book. It most likely never would have been without him. Or, it would have been not nearly as good.

It wasn’t until February of 2013 that First of Her Kind made it into reader’s hands. Three years of drafts, head banging, frustration, happy dances, and forging the fast and steady friendships with a handful of other writers who provided the support and guidance that got me through. (Two of them have also just finished a series this year. Shout out to Kate Sparkes and Krista Walsh. Woot! Woot!)

Fast forward three years, and the trilogy is complete. Edge of Darkness, the final book, brought out the heavy duty can of Whoop-Ass and unleashed it on me. I struggled with my desire to give trilogy readers a satisfying conclusion while staying true to the story and my characters. At one point, I trashed over 50 thousand words and started over because I didn’t like where it was going. I floundered, swore, banged my head against the desk, and scrambled until I finally thought I  was close to where I wanted to be. Then, I did something I have never done. I sent a rough, firstish draft, to some incredibly brave and stalwart Alpha Readers. Only after they assured me it wasn’t the blatant basket of tripe I thought it was, did I go on.

All I can say is…

THAT WAS FREAKING HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I’m poised to do it all again.

Because us writerly types? We’re nuckin’ futs, we are. Voices in our heads, tales to be spun, worlds to create…

 

 

5 Comments:

  1. As Ruth so aptly put it: Yup.

    So, umm… Are you going to give us any little peeks at your next project? *waggles eyebrows* You know how we love to peek.

    • Oh… I might give peeks. Just waiting a bit. Because that’s so much fun. And subscribers to my newsletter will be getting a special present, which is sort of a peek.

  2. Yup, indeed.

    I go to my writing group every Sunday night so I can avoid conversations like this for a few hours:

    Daughter, age 11:

    “Who are you writing about?”

    Me (not age 11):

    “Ava. It’s sad.”

    D:

    “Why?”

    M:

    “Because Ava’s only twelve, and she’s dying.”

    D:

    “Well, why don’t you just make her live?”

    M:

    “Because she came to me dying, and she has to die.”

    D:

    “Well, you’re the god of these characters. Just let her live.”

    M:

    ………(I mean, how does one answer a misconception as huge as THAT?!)

  3. It is hard, and yet… our characters do trust us to speak for them and tell their stories as best we can. And… sometimes our words aren’t quite up to snuff, and it needs the help of others to actually say what we mean to say, but generally, yeah, it’s the way it is.

    So do it again. That’s the only way through it is to keep doing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.