|Drinking in the view at at the end of the day. Who could fail to be inspired?|
I planned to work on this post while my husband and I enjoyed a cottage rental this week. Pffft. And when we returned home on the 30th, I thought I could get it done that evening. Pffft again. We arrived to find computer issues that needed attention. So I am writing this June 1st and back-dating it.
We were asked to showcase a work-in-progress, so that’s what I’m doing. In fact, I used part of our vacation to work on my WIP. I spent the mornings writing while my husband read, then we took the afternoon to explore the area, and watched a movie together in the evenings before heading to the beach to catch one of God’s glorious sunsets.
I call myself an eclectic writer. I write children’s picture books, personal essays, short stories for adults, poetry. But my focus this year has been on the novel I started ten years ago. It’s a work of contemporary fiction that deals with family dynamics, and particularly the difficult relationship between a mother and daughter. Themes of understanding and forgiveness are also explored. The idea was sparked when I threw together a short piece for a critique group that was meeting for the first time. One of the participants that night thought the nugget contained the makings of a novel.
I gulped. It did?
So here I am ten years later, still working on it. Granted, I’ve taken long breaks since beginning, the longest stemming from writer’s block. I’d come to point B and knew where point D was, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get to point C. Thankfully, the block has broken and I am moving forward. I don’t work from a detailed outline and tend to go with the flow, an approach that has both its challenges and its joys.
Over the holiday, I worked on revisions for the first ten chapters. I still have a number of chapters to edit before I pick up the story and work my way through to the end. While I had hoped to complete the novel by the end of June, it looks like I'll have to extend my deadline to the end of the year. The main thing is to keep pressing forward.
Here’s a teaser from early in the novel to whet your appetite for more. In this scene, the mother and daughter are having a tense telephone conversation. The story is told in first person, from the daughter’s point of view.
I felt sick to my stomach, but somehow I couldn’t stop myself. I wasn’t like this with anyone but Mom. “Nothing’s eating me,” I said. I tapped my fingers on the arm of my chair. “I’m tired, that’s all. Tired of pandering to your emotional insecurities.” Mom drew in a sharp breath, but I pressed on. “Ben and Jackie wouldn’t have asked you to go if they didn’t want you. So, go. Enjoy your grandchildren and have a good time. Is that so hard? Does it have to be such a big deal?”
“Somebody got up on the wrong side of bed,” she answered. “Maybe I should talk to you later when you’re feeling more reasonable.”
“I think this is as good as it gets today, Mother.”
I heard the phone click. “Mother?” I held the phone away from my ear and looked at it in surprise, then brought it close again. "Mother?” The dial tone sounded an accusation. “She hung up on me!”
For more of my writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.ca