Look at that . . . there's blue sky and trees out there! I've been huddled over the computer for fourteen straight days, finishing ninety pages and a synopsis to send to my mentor, Caroline Leavitt. Today, I printed them and tomorrow I'll mail the package. It was so cool to see that stack of printed paper, the beginnings of a real book. It feels like an accomplishment. It's hard to get that sense from a computer file.
Two weeks ago, Caroline said to send the messy draft but I couldn't do it. The story had changed too much since I started. Plot lines had veered and I worried it wouldn't make sense. I thought, I'll just zip in there and tidy things up, a week, ten days tops, I'll be done. Uh-huh. Once I opened that door, the story took over. It whispered new thoughts, enlightened me about characters' motivations, tweaked scenes. I carried a notebook around, scribbling through the day and night. I'd edit ten pages; then each morning, I'd pull out my notes and revisit scenes. Finally, I stomped my foot, faced the story and hollered, "This isn't supposed to be a real revision!" And so it allowed me to finish what I started but only if I promised to keep taking notes for the REAL REVISION.
Day before yesterday, I faced the synopsis with headache-inducing dread. I started this book without an outline and so far the story's unfolded chapter by chapter. I have a clear image of the ending but the unwritten chapters in between are up in the air. After one-hundred pages, I feel I'm just getting to know my characters. The story arc isn't complete and it's unclear how conflicts will be resolved. I wasn't sure how to approach the synopsis and I can only hope what I wrote makes sense. As uncomfortable as the experience was, I'm glad to have attempted it at this stage. I think it will help when it's time to write one for queries.
This afternoon, I'm taking a break to catch up on friends' blogs and write this post. Tomorrow, I owe everyone and their brother an email. Friday, I pick up where I left off . . . Page 91.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. And creatures, always creatures. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor