It's a cool, Monday morning in my quiet little community and I have the unexpected opportunity to write! Usually I write Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, but because Aaron has to preach on Wednesday night for our church Thanksgiving service, he woke up this morning and ushered me out of the house. Yay! I love surprises. And I devour any chance I get to write.
This new project for me is such a learning experience. In some ways, I feel like my first two books were "practice." After the Leaves Fall is an emotive, in-depth character study. Summer Snow is still very character driven, but I experimented a lot more with plot. My family and friends who read earlier copies of the sequel said it was a much more compulsive read than the first because most chapters end with a mini-cliffhanger. There are more twists and surprises. But difference aside, both books were a blast for me to write; I had so much fun discovering what I was capable of.
Now, I've taken off in an entirely different direction with my third book. It is heavy on both character and plot. It is much more complicated than my first two books. It is written from three different points of view. It deals with subject matter that I have to research intensely. Argh! It's incredibly fun, but daunting, too. I guess I could liken it to the difference between training to run a 10k and training for a half-marathon. I'm at the point in training where I'm thinking, "Am I crazy? Can I even do this?"
My agent and my writing partner are fantastic. They are both so encouraging and they both continue to say the same thing: KEEP WRITING! They assure me that it will all work out in the end and that we will be able to fix any significant problems with minimal heartache (i.e. some rewriting). I think therein lies my problem: I've never had to do rewrites. Well, at least not big rewrites. The edits for Leaves and Snow seemed pretty minor to me: change a word here, flip a sentence around there, add a short paragraph or two and bada-bing! we're done. What if, like I know some authors have had to do, I have to go through with a fine tooth comb and change a third person POV to first? I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.
Confession (as if the whole wide world didn't already know): I'm a perfectionist. And I want my first draft to be a hair's breadth from perfect.
Admission (and this is huge coming from me): I don't think I can be perfect this time. Oh! The horrors! Oh, the inner turmoil!
Oh the learning curve. I am learning so much. And though I worry a bit and wonder if I can do what I want so badly to do, I am so grateful for this opportunity. How awesome is this? How blessed am I to do what I have always, always wanted to do? Trials and fears aside, it's worth all I have to give it.
Anyway, I gotta run, I have a messy manuscript to work on.