Okay, I’ve Finished the Manuscript

Writing

I’ve written a story. Twelve years in the making.

First it was an idea, then it just grew from a children’s book to “Oh no. Not possible. This is too much information for little kids.” So I decided to keep writing and see what happened.

Twelve years? Well, I was working full time as a teacher, and I also built my own home—with my own hands, sweat and blood. Then I got married, moved out of state, built two more houses and got another job teaching in my new geographic location. But my unfinished story haunted me. So I kept writing whenever I had a chance.

At one point, I got stuck. Or I should say, the children in my story were really stuck and I put them there. How could I get them out without killing the whole story? Writer’s block? Yeah. That was what it was. The symptoms fit.

Then one day, I decided I needed another character just to make it more interesting. Should it be a boy? No. How about a girl? Then I had to give her a name. What name. It was like having a baby all over again—without the labor pains or stretch marks. So I did re-writes to fit her into the story. Much later, the same thing happened. This time I added two more characters and had to fit them in with a re-write.

Eventually I felt the children needed to be older. Teen and pre-teen. I learned that is referred to as “tween genre”. Then the title no longer fit the story. Decisions were always being made and I wonder if I made good decisions for the story.

Photograph shows a young girl dressed in a fur...

Photograph shows a young girl dressed in a fur-trimmed coat and hat, carrying her doll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Isn't she cute?

An idea came as I ate dinner at a restaurant. A pretty, little girl walked to a table with her mom. She had a cute outfit and a beautiful hat. I had to complement her on her hat as I left. I thought, I’d like to paint her. Then it occurred to me. Here was a young girl wearing something special her mom gave her. It was a perceived sign of love by the little girl. My story’s girl needed something to hang on to until her mother came home. So I chose a necklace for my character. It worked for me and for my ‘girl’.

I retired from teaching earlier than planned. My husband was ill once too often and I worried being away all day. Now that I’m home with my happy husband, I have finished my manuscript and have had it reviewed by a critique group. That represents an added two years of critiquing. It was a great experience. The people in the writer’s group were honest and very helpful. I  learned so much more in the last two years. Now my story is so much better thanks to their help and that of a friend who also read the manuscript and made a couple of suggestions.

Now what do I do? Research. I started it a while ago, but had to put it aside to fulfill my obligation to produce new paintings for upcoming art showings and possible  sales. Go to my website at jomorise.com to see my portfolio.

Meanwhile, another story has been brewing in my head for about two years now and I’ve already started writing that as well.

Wish me luck.

Jo

Smile in your mirror every day.