Welcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!
I’m one month shy of being published for six years. I have to tell you it feels much, much longer than that.
So many things have changed about the way I write, and then changed again (for the better) once I got off the treadmill of trying to slam out a book every two weeks. I still learn something new each time I write a story. I hope that never ends. Learning new things keeps our minds sharp and our creativity from becoming stale.
Publishing is a business, and if we expect to make any money at it, we have to treat it as such. But today, instead of talking to you about royalties, promotion, or trends that are hot this hour, I’d like to flip the rug over and talk about trying something entirely new. Even if you have no clue where it will end up, or whether you will even submit it to a publisher or click the “publish” button on Amazon.
Unless you’ve actually done this, you have no idea how liberating it can be. Or how cathartic. I will try to explain what it feels like to me, in the hopes it will inspire you to follow your muse down that path, if you’re lucky enough to have her lead you there.
A few weeks ago, one line from a song that I have heard probably thousands of times since it was released as a single in the mid-70s haunted me as I drove home from the day job. I listen to a radio station that plays songs from the 70s and 80s, and this particular one came on. As the lyrics washed over me that day, a story began writing itself in my head.
This story is a huge departure for me. It’s still a romance, per se, but I’m writing it in a point of view I’ve never tried before. And to be honest, didn’t even care to read until I picked up The Hunger Games trilogy, and realized some people can write in first person, present tense, and still write beautifully.
I’m also writing the story in a way that chronicles the life of the hero and heroine from the time they were ten years old. As I said, it’s different. Perhaps too different. The more I write, the more I wonder whether this is right for my publisher, or whether my readers would come along for the ride, even if it was accepted.
Right now, I’m roughly 40,000 words in, and still have that much to go to bring our hero and heroine back to the present day, where the story starts. The partial manuscript is currently with a trusted friend. Not to tell me whether she thinks it’s any good, but to help me decide what to do with it once it’s finished.
The early feedback I’ve received on the first few chapters was extremely positive, but I’m spreading my wings with this one. I have no idea where that flight will take this story, or me, but I have to tell you this feels incredible.
And who knows? Perhaps it will end up in the “stories I wrote but did nothing with” file. And you know what? That’s okay if it does. Because writing this is teaching me things I can’t learn in another class, or by reading another blog, or through the edits of a story that Evernight has accepted. No. Not this time.
I’m neck-deep in this one, living it and breathing it. I’ve immersed myself in it. I’m not thinking this time about my target audience, where the sex scenes should be, how many there should be, or whether we’ve reached the high point of the story/romance/character arcs yet.
I’m simply WRITING this story as its being told to me through these amazing characters. I’m chronicling their journey. It’s so freeing to do this. To simply tell a story, without worrying over where it’s going once it’s done.
Obviously, this may end with me never submitting it. But don’t you worry. I’m not going to stop writing for Evernight. This is merely something I need to do right now. Something that one line in the song compelled me to do. And I will never, ever regret it. Not when the emotion surrounding it, and the learning that’s taking place as I forge ahead, is this powerful. This visceral.
Well, I’ve rambled enough for one Monday! I only want to repeat to all the writers out there, published or not, never be afraid to try something new. To spread your wings and let a story take flight. Even if you never publish it, those moments are rare and precious. They are there to teach you something. Don’t let them get away.
Until next week, Happy Writing!!