"When you come to the edge of all the light that you know, and you are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly." Barbara J. Winter
So, the other day I was convinced I’d written myself into a corner. It was a very nice corner, nice things were happening in the corner. I just didn’t know how to make my way around the corner to what I knew had to happen next. Of course, the whole idea behind being a fiction writer is writing your way out of the corner. I didn’t mind the idea of navigating around the corner. Only what popped into my mind felt more like reconstructing the corner and the surrounding area. Stripping down the walls of the corner down to the studs and re-evaluating the placement of electrical outlets, etc. Major changes. Again.
I resisted. I pondered. I looked for an efficient and neat way out.
Because I don’t want to be writing this one book FOREVER.
No way was I breaking down walls, ripping out electrical wires, and starting even a small-scale remodel. At some point I have to be able to say enough is enough. It’s as good as it’s going to get at this point in time. So I’m mapping my way out of the corner, finding the best course and making my way down the short corridor to The End. I mapped out ten or so probable route ideas. Picked out the most interesting possibility and noted how it worked with The End and made it happen. That’s what you do when you’re a writer, right? Make it up as you go along. Change it to work for you. It is after all fiction. I still chose the path of least resistance.
Because if I don’t, I’ll be writing this one book FOREVER.
Never mind the last minute big changes that come to mind, there will always be some little thing I can change or improve or tweak or fiddle with or …well, you get the idea. Small things to be reworked, minute changes that will make no difference to the plot, the characters or their goals, motivations and conflict. I think it would be fair to call the act of constantly implementing this small revisions, stalling. Because the next step is almost as scary as writing the darn book in the first place. The business of writing query letters, attempting a synopsis, sending them off to an agent. What will an agent think? Will it ever be perfect? Should I keep at it until it is?
I can’t, or I’ll be writing this one book FOREVER.
So in the spirit of moving forward, I plan to send The End off to Lesley, my fellow SRW member who has been reading and helping me along, and see what she thinks. I will write a first draft of a synopsis (thanks Jana for the valuable information given in Monday’s post) and send it to Janet (thanks for the links) to see what she thinks. I have people who are cheering me on and helping me out so I'm inspired to sit down and figure out which agents/editors to query and perhaps post the letter on our SRW private blog for review.
For the sake of my wonderful and supportive husband who is beginning to wonder if I’ll be writing this one book FOREVER.
And who could fail to be inspired to push forward as we watch the Olympic Games and cheer on our athletes, many of who have trained for years in their respective sports. So I’ll gather up my writing nerve and put myself out there. I’ll work on the confidence to knowing when to let go. I’ll start working on my next project. I'll see what come next.
But until someone else tells me there is more work to done on Common Ground. I’m done. It’s hand off time.
Did you have a hard time letting your first manuscript go? Did you tweak forever? Are you like me, an avid Olympic Games watcher? Are you inspired by their determination, drive and courage? What’s your favorite sport?