I’ve been working on the latest book of mine , researching and writing as I go along and I am very near the depth, the tie that binds all those loose threads together, and I know I’m close but I feel like I’m blindfolded; I’m waving my arms around, grasping wildly in the air for that thread.
My writing partner and I meet over breakfast to read and talk about our work, and I tell her I know I’m getting close, but it’s so frustrating not to find the words I need. Once I get those words in a sentence I know the other clues will fall into place. I feel like a detective trying to solve a mystery. What am I missing?
She tells me what she likes about the book. Then it hits me. The words come out in the sentence I need.
“That’s it!” she says.
“Thank you,” I say.
Without our conversation, I wouldn’t have found it until much, much later . . . if at all.
It reminds me when I was compiling The ABCs of Writing for Children, Thacher Hurd said that when an author writes a book, it’s really a community effort. Sometimes the author has a writing group, a writing partner, an agent, one or more editors . . . so that by the time the book is finished, the community has created the art.
I also recall other authors telling me it took years to discover their themes, or plots, or characters. Time is your friend. So don’t despair if it doesn’t all fall into place right away. You may need to bounce ideas off of people. And then you need it to simmer in your thought process for a while.
The next day, when I awake, I get the next layer of depth. It falls right into place with the words I had found yesterday. Now I feel shock that it took so long for me to discover what was with me all along. A past which was buried so deeply it didn’t occur me to even consider it.
And now, I forget who said it originally, I shall open a vein.