In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Looking Into Claire Benedict's Heart: Deepening the Story

Cold Midnight tells the story of Claire Benedict and Ben Riley, teens in 1921 -- their night-time escapades in the town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and the moments when they see evidence that may tie to a murder of a local businessman, as well as to the "firebug" who's tormenting the local fire department with false alarms and worse.

I finished the first draft in December of 2010, sent it out to my trusty agent and an insightful editor in January, and received their comments and suggestions in early summer. Since then, I've wrestled with how to change the arc of the book to incorporate these wise notions of what it needs in revision.

Revision? Yes, in my experience, revision is the stage when a "promising" story becomes a really good one. And it requires investigating the heart of the main character of the book, asking questions within the "author heart" about why the person is and does the things in the novel. As the answers become clear, so does the path toward the deeper, better story.

And this week, I've reworked Claire's relationship with her dad -- because underneath all the plot twists and discoveries, that's where the pain of the book resides, and where the real satisfaction can happen, if Claire makes choices that come from both courage and love.

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