Sometimes I want to toss my novel out the window. I completely understand what Dorothy Parker meant when she said, “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
I’ve been working on Beneath the Mimosa Tree for so long that I would be lying if I didn’t say I could throw in the towel. Writing is painful sometimes. We are hard on ourselves. But then I think of what Raymond Carver said: “Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.”
Luckily, I have the passion. I could put my novel out there right now as an independent author, but I don’t feel it’s EXACTLY the way I want it, so another round of edits is taking place with the help of my stellar editor Jim Abbiati. He’s made me look at the text—and my presentation of the story—in a new way. I’m grateful and I’m reworking it a bit.
I know this story is not the next big thing to come—there are no wizards or vampires or hobbits—but I do have quite a bit invested in it, and in my characters, so getting them just right is incredibly important to me. It’s a relationship story worth telling, and at the core of it is the idea of forgiveness. Carver wants writers to have passion and I do, especially for Michael and Annabelle, my two main characters.
“I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. I never in my wildest dreams expected this popularity.” These words were uttered by J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, and someone many writers look to for advice and guidance. She was quite fortunate; her characters and plot amused millions of people, so in the end, she hit the jackpot.
Writer Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I’m working on it, Toni. Really, I am.
Nevertheless, as I copy edit and copy edit and copy edit some more, I found the aforementioned writer’s quotes to be helpful and inspirational today. I thought I’d also share a few more I found.
“Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist.” ~ Thomas Disch
“Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of.” ~ Geri Weitzman
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~ Scott Adams
“No great thing is created suddenly.” ~ Epictetus
And then, of course, there are the words that grace the t-shirt my mother gave me for Christmas: “Be Careful Or You Will End Up In My Novel.”
But that discussion of what we incorporate from real life into our characters will be saved for another time. It’ll be a good one.