Hi there, I haven't written in a while, sorry. How are you? Good.
Just to recap, it was a great start to the year with my short position with our local library, thanks again EPL.ca, and a few other bits of activity that came my way. I have sold a few more books and gained some exposure in online media. What hasn't happened is massive uptick of my book sales or that highly anticipated (by me) movie deal. Okay, well leaving that aside for now, I wanted to share an update with you as I'm sure you've been wondering what the heck I'm doing.
First of all, with a heavy heart I am closing the book on Jacky Fraser. He has been through enough, losing his mom, almost ruining his relationship with his dad. He has packed his bagpipes and moved on. I started writing about Jacky when I had some connection to the YA world through my own family. Everyone has grown up and I don't know any 13-18 year olds to bounce ideas off of. Happens.
My current novel project is something completely different. I am attempting to write what I know by exploring human conditions that I know nothing about. In a nutshell, this book deals with the changing relationship of two friends over a 40 year time span. The main characters are my age, but that's where the similarity ends. Each had plans and ambitions after high school and neither ended up doing what they hoped to do. Thematically, it is about passions lost through time and passions rekindled through discovery. Just because you know somebody well, doesn't mean you know them at all.
The book was written in first draft 10 years ago and I thought it was pretty good then. Now, going through the process of restructuring and rewriting, the book barely resembles its earlier self. I decided to work with a mentor to help me tear this story down and find its strengths. The story outlines have resembled a child's building blocks, easily knocked down once a weakness was discovered. This has been a hard learning experience but so, so worth it.
You know those times when you read a book that is critically acclaimed and high up on the best selling lists and you ask yourself what the hell is the difference between this and your book, which can't get noticed at a the top of a flag pole with smoke and flashing lights? Going through this process helps to answer that one, along with other's, such as: can I even write any more, what's the matter with me that I don't know, can I please stop now?
I'm not saying this book will become a NY Times best seller when (if) it gets published. I am saying the process of learning what you don't know about writing and storytelling is extremely valuable.
I have seen a lot of social media posts lately from authors I know and know of. They say things like, I may have to get out of the business and, I may not be the author I thought I was. It is particularly frustrating when some political or celebrity type gets a book deal for millions of dollars for something they probably didn't even write, while authors trying to make a living - don't. It is going to be that way for the rest of time and we have to accept it. Authors have to take the good news we get with the disappointments. We have to continue to make the effort to promote ourselves in order to capture the attention of a severely distracted and sometimes overwhelmed public. It can be done. Don't give up.
If you are an author, if you want to be an author, if you have a story trying to force its way out of your head, you have no choice. Write it. Then get professional help - not that kind. I mean editors, mentors, take a course and attend a writers conference. Assume aways that you don't know everything you need to and strive to be a better writer.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, if you live in the northern hemisphere. Then get back to work. Your stories won't write themselves.