I haven’t been writing as much for the blog, nor
stalking reading and commenting on other blogs. I’ve spent less time on Facebook (a good thing), replying to emails (not so good), and my poor family haven’t seen much of me (definitely bad). I’ve appeared at school pick-up, driven kids to and from after-school commitments, and sat impatiently through dinner, before whizzing back to the attic and my novel.
Basically, I’ve had my head down and my bum up trying to finish it. I’m off to Varuna next month and I want the manuscript as good as I can get it before I go. Much of the hard slog is done—the structural changes, the shifting of chunks and chapters—and it’s now the finer details—the honing of paragraphs and sentences. I can smell the finish line and I just want to get there …
I’m only finishing a fourth draft but I’ve revised some of the scenes fifty times or more. I can recite some of the passages. I’m at the point where I change something, then change it back on the next read-through. I know it still has errors, but I can’t see them. I’m not reading what’s written anymore—I see what I think I’ve written or what I meant to write. I’ve read it so many times and know the story inside-out that I can’t spot the gaps or bumps. There are scenes that the story would be better without, but I’m reluctant to part with them.
It needs fresh eyes, and it’s time to hand it over. That’s exciting, but daunting. For the past two years, I’ve spent most of my waking hours holed up in the attic writing this story, just me and my characters. I’ve lived with them, loved them, laughed with them, cried with them. I’ve cherished writing their lives. I’ve treasured our private hours together, just them and me. I’ve kept their secrets and they’ve returned the favour.
The story is fiction, but it’s full of me. I‘ve poured myself into it—my thoughts, my personality, my heart. Apart from my kids, this is the most precious thing I’ve ever made. It’s not frilly or lyrical—I tried to write like that, but I just sounded pretentious. My story, ‘Ida’s Children’, is a down-to-earth Australian novel, about down-to-earth Australian people. Like the people I grew up with. Like me.
It’s the best I have to give. It’s the best I can do.
I’m about to hand my baby over to Kristen and Emily, my writing partners. They’re wonderful writers and kind, generous people, but I still feel vulnerable. I know that if they don’t like my story, I’ll be devastated. However, better to know than not. I’ll pick myself up and dust myself off, as I have many times before, and you’ll find me back in the attic, back at the drawing board, working hard at making it better.
Wish me luck …
Emily is excited to be reading this wonderful creation of yours.
Thank you Emily. I hope you’re still excited by my creation when you’ve finished reading it!
I know that feeling so well. Trying to decide when it’s finished. It seems every time I read my own work I want to change things around. Well done for making that decision and being brave enough to send it out into the world.
Thanks, Leanne. There are still errors—last night in bed I remembered two more things I’ll have to fix—but I’m fiddling with sentences and making them worse! Time to take a break and a breather. And talk to my family!
Here’s wishing you Good Luck! But your manuscript could not be landing in safer hands than those of Emily and Kristen. Again, Good Luck, Louise, and there’s nothing more I can say except to screw up your eyes, and wait. And trust for Emily and Kristen to give you wise counsel. Trust. p.s. Good Luck!
Yes, I trust their counsel, too. They’re expert readers and writers. And thanks for wishing me luck—three times!
I can’t wait to catch up with Ida. I love her; she is such an authentic character. 🙂
Thanks, Kristen! I’m glad you’re looking forward to spending time with Ida! I love her, but that’s just like a mother loving her child, and you’re never sure if others will love her, too …
Your talent far outweighs the luck. You are a talented writer and we all expect great things from you. The hard part now is waiting. In the meantme I do wish you all the luck in the word and send many hugs to get you through the waiting period. Hugs.
Thanks Betty, for your kind and encouraging words. They really help keep me buoyant—you’ve no idea. Thanks, again. And congrats to you on your recent success with your flash fiction story!
Good luck Louise, I for one know you don’t need it as will be brilliant. xxx
I will need luck, Rae, no doubt about that. Every writer needs luck on their side …
Sending good thoughts your way. This is an incredible accomplishment! Wishing you the very best of luck. Fingers and toes.
Thanks so much, Penny, and for crossing your fingers and toes! x