Stories Make Their Own Rules!
Spring's here, no doubt. The azaleas are blooming and bees buzzing, oak pollen turning cars green. All that activity woke my muse from her long winter nap, ending an excruciating dry spell. She's granted me three picture book stories and rough sketches for a dummy book. While attempting to resurrect last year's novel, the protaganist of my very first book appeared. I listened to her telling her story in my head for a week and finally gave her the floor.
That's the thing about stories. You can't always control them. I considered my first book a learning experience and wasn't sure I'd ever revisit it. But here it is revived. I spent a week digesting the original's weak plot and passive protaganist and brainstorming new material. Chapter one is roughly written and the story's unfolding bit by bit. There's so little of the first book in it, they're barely related.
Picture books aren't docile either. Once you step into that realm, ideas for new stories multiply. I've been working on a dog book for kidlitart's dummy book challenge. Last weekend, a new story popped up and wrote itself in one day. I thought, maybe I should illustrate this story instead. New stories always seem shinier than old ones. They glow with potential, especially since no one else has seen them. Then you take them to critique and before you even get there, doubt dulls their finish. Afterwards, no matter how high the praise, you know that story won't shine again without lots of polish.
But I'm not complaining. I'm happy to have something to polish and I'm learning to accept the mercurial fountain that springs stories to life, grateful for the words that come.
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I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor