Last year I was given the opportunity to contribute an essay on writing to an untitled Sisters in Crime project. Divided into categories such as Thinking, Working, Belonging, and Looking (to name only a few), the book was intended to be a guide for writers at various stages of their journey. Writing is a solitary pursuit, but the collection of essays was intended to help every person who tries their hand at this game know that they’re—we’re—not alone.
One of the most eye-opening parts of writing a book is accepting how much it will change from first to final draft. As authors, we often find ways to streamline the story, add plot lines, move passages to ramp up tension, or just plain delete sections that no longer seem necessary. Perhaps early readers love an underdeveloped character or hate someone we thought they’d love. And then editors contribute their viewpoint and the manuscript undergoes even more revisions. What we start with is the seed of an idea that eventually blossoms into a book.
This collection of essays by Sisters in Crime members had its own journey. Originally called The Red Book (because the cover was red), it soon became WRITES OF PASSAGE. As Hank Phillippi Ryan, originator of the concept and editor of the book, says in the introduction, “When you’re in need of an author’s roadmap, pick up this book. Open it to any page. The sisters of SinC have shared their personal journeys, and they have many tales to tell.” Today a new cover was debuted by Henery Press, and on September 9, the book will be available wherever books are sold.
While I am by no means an expert on the writing journey, I am proud to be one of the fifty-nine authors in here. This collection is inspirational, funny, and eye opening, but most importantly, it’s like having a support group on demand for when you’re down that lonely writer’s road and find yourself in need of companionship.