Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

28 day blog challenge #4

Where were you when the idea for your [first] book was initially ignited? Who was the first person you told? How did they respond?

It's day four of the 28 day blog challenge. That's four days of blogging in a row. For a person who blogged twice a week at best, this is a first. I keep telling myself I don't have to do this every day, I can skip one now and then, but so far I've really loved the prompts and I've also loved how they've made me look at myself as a writer/reader in different lights. So onwards and upwards!

The idea for my first book (the prompt only said 'book' but I added first since I've written more than one...even if my flash drive is the only thing that knows this) came to me in Key West. Two of my best high school girlfriends and I went there for a long weekend instead of our ten-year high school reunion...great decision, by the way. Not sure why it hit me then. Maybe I was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's ghost...or maybe just because the island is so lush and haunted, and drips creativity (or maybe that's just the humidity).

Anyway, since I was small, I've always made up stories in my head. I had trouble sleeping and my older sister told me one night to do this and lo and behold it worked. And turned me into a daydreaming addict. In my head, anything is possible. Honestly, for a long time, it was much more appealing in there than in the real world. And at times still is. I've often thought I'd be a raving lunatic if not for that escape.

I took a long hiatus from writing of any sort other than journaling until this trip. Something stirred inside me. The day I got back I sat down at the computer and banged out a good bit of a novel - a horrible, unstructured, self-indulgent thing, but hey, it was a start. And in retrospect, a good way to start. I tell people all the time if you want to write a novel just do it. The more you write the more you'll learn, and though it might be terrible, it's something to build upon. At times I envy those days, when the only goal was to tell a great story, not worry about form, structure, querying, agents, etc.

I told only my husband. In fact, for a good number of years he was the only person who knew anything about my goals and dreams, my passion, outside of my writing group. This was before I took the class, before joining my fantastic writing group, before knowing a single thing about what I was doing. I can't remember his response. I mean it was eight years memory's taken a big nosedive since then. Out with the old (and unimportant), in with the new, right? Only so much room in that thing. I do know he's since become my biggest supporter, my one man cheerleading squad, and at times my only link to reality. He's put up with a lot and stood strong. So his initial reaction doesn't matter (though he probably just humored me).

Over eight years, that novel has gone through no less than four entire re-writes (with other novels/stories/essays/poems/songs mixed in) and only two things have stayed the same - one character and the setting, Key West.  It is now being read by a few fantastic folks while I retool the query and prepare to send it off into the world. My baby. This is it though - if it doesn't go somewhere, it's getting shelved. Eight years is a long time to spend together.

Honestly - you people have to be sick of me hogging your feeds by now. But I'm loving this escape. Anything is better than what I need to do, which is work on my query. Gah.


Jo Michaels said...

I agree with the just do it part. But don't give up. It helps to have at least one person that believes in you, huh? I got lucky and managed to wrangle two (my boyfriend and my mother). Viva la supporters!! WRITE ON!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had an adventure creating that book. Good luck with your querying. : )

Kelly Hashway said...

I love that you are avoiding your query. LOL. Write that thing.