New Beginnings

I’ve done it! After nearly a year’s hiatus (due to wedding, honeymoon and overall writing fatigue), I’ve started a new project! (cue the Hallelujah chorus!)

For a while there, I didn’t think I would write another novel. A novel, as you fellow writers know, is a huge undertaking. And frankly, with all the life changes going on, life itself is far more interesting even than writing (and that’s saying something because I love writing!). I was also feeling burnt out and didn’t really want to write anything again. Sometimes, it all feels like effort for nothing and that’s hard to get past.

But, I got past it. And here’s how. You may remember that I did a poetry writing month back in February. I wrote new stuff and reminisced over some old writing and throughout it all, I reminded myself how much I love writing beautiful sentences, finding deep meaningful phrases and poetry in thoughts. I write all day at work, but it’s not that kind of writing and I missed it. And I reminded myself that I’m sort of good at it and that I didn’t want to lose that piece of myself. Eventually, it worked and here we are!

So, what to tell you about my new project. Well, for starters, it’s not fantasy. Shocking I know. I’ve been on a huge fantasy kick for the past several years. But this story doesn’t even have a thread of magical realism in it.

Second shocker. It’s not historical fiction either. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something that took place in the modern era. Maybe back in college when I was working on my bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing of all things. This should be interesting. I typically refrain from modern fiction because I hate writing text conversations or phone conversations or emails. We’ll see how this story grows, but some of that may have to come into play here. It’s always good to stretch yourself as a writer though, right?

Okay I’ve told you what this project isn’t. How about what this project IS. This project is an interesting amalgamation of things. It’s a family story. It’s a self-discovery story (I think). It’s about relationships. It’s literary, but also a little funny and quirky (I’m usually not good at funny, so this will also be interesting to watch :D). The original framework of this project comes from a novel I dreamed up more than a decade ago that takes place in my home state of Missouri. Back then, the story was much more inspired by my own family. That’s not the story of today, though. There are a few things I take from my own family history which I love: our family’s tradition of visiting the cemetery over Memorial Weekend and peonies. And that’s about it, really. Everything else is fresh and new. (So, don’t worry family, I’m not writing about us or you! 🙂 )

This story languished inside my head for a very long time because it lacked a catalyst – a reason for being. And without that, you don’t have a story to tell. Well, I have a catalyst now and I’m going for it. So, we’ll see what happens.

Right now, I’m working on family tree and character development. I’ve never made an elaborate family tree before for a project. But, for a story that’s about family, well, it kind of made sense to put in the time and do it. There’ll be a lot of extra characters who don’t make an appearance in the story, but they are woven into the history part of it all, so taking some time to flesh them out even a little bit is helpful and important.  I think this will also help uncover plot points for the story as well by illuminating points of tension between characters and memories and such. In truth, this is where the story itself will sprout from (beyond the original catalyst).

Next up, some research. My main character is pregnant and since I’ve never been pregnant myself, I need to learn what sort of conversations doctors have with pregnant patients. I also will need to learn from people about how pregnancy affects them (I understand that everyone is different of course) so I can be true to that experience as well.

So, there’s lots to do still before I can begin the actual process of writing this new story. But, with lots of time one my hands and nowhere to go, I’m hoping to make some significant progress over the next month and get myself well-positioned to begin writing before mid-summer.

Here we go!

Cheers and best wishes to you in your writing endeavors! Have you found more time to dedicate to your craft during this shelter in place period we’re all experiencing? Would love to hear about what you’re working on! Please share in the comments if you’re so inclined.