Monday, September 28, 2015

The Gift of Time

Writing needs the gift of time. It requires the potion of reflective idleness. If a book is to live, it must grow. If a book is to grow, it must be nurtured. It must have space and air to expand and contract. Air and space are the equivalent of time.

Two years ago this December, I finished the draft of my second book about Athos of The Three Musketeers, part of my historical romance trilogy. I've written other kinds of fiction, but this series has taken up tons of my head space. When I finished the second book, my idea was to let it sit for about three to six months to "rest." My crit group had read it, and two editors were lined up to review it.

Then my husband died.
Prequel to The Three Musketeers

So much for book two.

Unfinished projects drive me crazy. They morph into little clouds of gray, sitting above my shoulders. Grieving trampled my motivation for just about everything. My good intentions eroded. So did my bad intentions. All my intentions. It's getting better. All the well-meaning people in my life said it would. It does. It won't ever be the same, but the grief is not molasses like it had been. It's still sticky, sometimes, but not thick and dark, like it had been.

The book kept pestering me. I enjoyed writing it, maybe even a little more than the first one because I had less to learn about writing fiction. Not that I know it all. God, no. I just had the basics down. So, I let myself run a little faster, a little looser.

Book Two is better than book one. My opinion.

My two editors read it last year and sent editorial notes. I let them sit, too. I lost one set of notes in my email, then rediscovered it. A year ago, I read one editor's comments and laughed and laughed at his pokes. There was work to be done. It took another year, until a week ago today, for me to decide enough was enough. Time to shape up the manuscript. I thought it would take me several weeks. It took six days.

The work sat idle for almost two years. It annoyed my conscience, but it also worked out the kinks. There are probably still a few, but now that I'm on the other side of revisions, I like the book more. It's angst-y, sexy. Better than it was. I dumped a bunch of purple prose. I recalibrated the logic. It makes more sense. I WANT people to read it.

It'll be out by November. Besides bringing about a sense of elation and relief, it represents a turning point for me. I'm moving forward. Little by little. It reminds me that rest is good, and all can end, if not completely well, at least a little better.


  1. great, Jen. can't wait to see how you've revised it. More than that, I'm glad you're dispelling some of your dark clouds. I think of you often and wish you well, always.

    1. I love when you comment. I miss our group. I am still going to read your ending. And I have an ulterior motive ...


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