It was just a week ago when I announced my sabbatical into “Crazy Writer Woman Mode” and boy, did I need it! I didn’t make huge, leaping strides. I didn’t write a whole lot of new words. But what I did do was gain a lot of clarity on where I’m going with at least one of my novels in progress.
I was able to successfully whittle down my first thirty-odd pages containing a lot of backstory into fifteen pages, punching up the beginning as a result. Backstory is a necessary evil for me. I have to start out with it in there so I can get to know my characters and how they’ll fit in to the story, mostly because when I start writing, I don’t always have a clear picture of where I’m going. Many authors and editors will tell you backstory is evil. It can kill a story. Too much info-dump early on can bore your reader before they ever get to the good parts. And, sadly, a bored reader isn’t a reader for long.
Now that I’ve cleared away some of the backstory and have a much better picture of the overall plot, the revising and new writing is coming a lot easier. I have more confidence now that it will all come together in the end, a fear, I’ve realized, that has been holding me back.
But, as promising and reviving as this discovery was, my confidence was kept neatly in check today by my seven year old, no less.
We were sitting at the kitchen table when she announced that she wanted to be a writer and illustrator someday. I have to admit, my heart swelled with pride a little, although I’m sure she’ll change her mind many times over.
My husband said to her, “I thought you wanted to be a baby doctor?” which is what she’s been telling us for at least the past three years, and, as she’ll further explain, it’s the kind that helps moms get the babies out, not the kind that doctors the babies.
She turned to us and said matter-of-factly, “I can do both.” (Well, I do hope to instill in my kids the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to, so this is good news.) “Writing’s not a real job anyway,” she said. My heart shrunk a little in proportion. “You don’t get paid for it.” Deflated like a balloon.
“Oh, yes you can,” my husband countered.
“Mom doesn’t,” she said.
Thanks for the reminder. Seriously. It reminds me that I have to keep working at it. Everyday, if need be. I have to keep thinking and creating and revising and writing. This novel’s sure not gonna write itself, but I do hope that one day my hard work pays off!