I recently completed my second novel, The Wrongs of Being Right. It covers the journey of Symphony Weber, a young girl who, at birth, is gifted with a special ability. She finds a way to turn off her gift after peer bullying and ostracism lead her to hate it. Years later, desperate to help someone she loves, she searches for a way to turn it back on.
I am told, Symphony’s story turns the pages. Readers identify with the characters. Overall, I’m pleased. Very pleased.
I promised myself that, when I finished The Wrongs of Being Right, I would do a re-write of my first novel The Courier which I affectionately call “My Writing Class.” Two weeks ago, I picked it up again.
Let me tell you, it is beautiful.
As I read, I am transported to past workshops–to words like “exposition” and “back story.” I hear, “This is beautifully written.”
Sure it is. My writing back then was poetic and I fought like hell to keep it that way.
“It’s my voice,” I swore against choruses of “Kill your darlings.”
Today, as I restructure The Courier, I am forced to admit that the flowery language is a distraction. Because of so many beautiful words and phrases, the beautiful story is hard to see. So, I am clearing blooming pathways, hauling away gigantic boulders of unnecessary description and detail.
And the readers are beginning to see with clarity what happens to Cyrus Driskoll.
The first time novelist is a little like a seedling tree. Constant pressure in one direction can train the shoot off to one side where it never reaches straight up toward the sun again. I am thankful to the readers and writers who have given me honest feedback over the years. I am equally thankful for their patience as I continued, unyielding, to reach for the sun. So, as I am submerged in the amount of work to be done on this re-write, I remind myself that because I completed the original draft as I did, I have learned a much deeper lesson.
With experience, my voice is relaxing into a language that is easy to follow.
And, at any given time, both sides of my face reflect the same degree of suntan.