I’m not exactly sharing a fictional story today, but I’m sharing with you the crazy writing journey I’m on at the moment as I write my fourth fictional novel.
In December, after National Novel Writing Month ended, I was 45,000 words into a new story, one that I had set in the hills of the Cotswolds in England. After a conversation with my family about how the work was going and picking their brains a little one night over dinner, I decided to relocate the story to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
I’m a Maryland girl (see my mug below thanks to my mother), so why not highlight our beautiful state once again? Changing the setting meant changing so much of the story. All the places had to be converted, the dialogue, which sounded “British” had to be reworked, and the characters’ names needed to be changed. I spent my winter break working on this manuscript (along with other things, I should say), so it took me a while to convert this work. Now that I’ve completed that transition, I’m glad I did it. It afforded me the opportunity to write a story that could also incorporate elements of my previous novel, Inn Significant, into it, which makes me happy because there were many readers of that novel who wanted a sequel. While this book isn’t necessarily a sequel, it is a story that includes characters from that novel. So, the project has sort of evolved into something a little more meaningful than what I originally planned.
I’m also incorporating into the first-person narrative, once again (at least as of now), both a woman’s and a man’s perspective as I did in my first novel, Beneath the Mimosa Tree. I enjoy that challenge of thinking like a man, and thankfully, have my husband to bounce ideas off of when I write in that character’s voice. We talk a lot in my classes about finding the right “voice” in your writing, and that can take a lot of honest digging and finessing. Switching back and forth in voice also takes patience, because I find I am constantly editing and reworking it so it sounds authentic to that particular character.
The theme of the new novel? Well, it revolves around two main themes. (1) Women friendships and what they ought to be, and (2) Finding love again despite being hurt by it.
I’m not at all sure when this novel will be done or what I will do with it upon completion. Supporters of mine want me to find an agent and publisher. Others say “just self publish again.”
I’m up in the air with that decision, but all I can tell you, is that this creative and maniacal sort of state of innovation and writing is where I thrive the best.
Hope your writing projects are coming along, my fellow writers.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry, and an academic textbook Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt, that she co-authored with colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus & Chip Rouse.