What up, mystery lovers? I hope the new year is treating you well. Me? Well, I alternate between highs and lows — some of that has to do with the political landscape, some with my writing. But I digress…
Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on Solitary Boys, a YA mystery set in 1995. It’s been a long haul. I started writing this book in May of 2016. I was so gung-ho, I was racking up 5,000 words a day. And good words, too. I thought for sure the book would be drafted before summer’s end. And then I hit a wall. The story wasn’t right. And so, I threw out 75,000 words, re-outlined, and started anew.
I finished the draft in December after pulling long days trudging through the outline. I sent it to trusted critique partners, beta readers, my editor. And now, I’m tweaking in preparation for querying. I cannot tell you how many times I have ignored my kids, my dog, my husband; how often I’ve slacked on laundry and cleaning; how I’ve put off lunch dates or time with friends to work on this manuscript. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve put into this book or the amount of time I’ve spent obsessing over my characters and the plot. It’s not something I’ve quantified. But, the story is finished. And I’m hoping beyond hope that a literary agent will fall in love with the book and represent me.
Here’s the thing regarding writers and their unmoored manuscripts — they are our sweat equity. We invest so much in our art, not just and time, but mental anguish, and there is no law that says it will amount to anything.
We write because we have stories to tell — stories that we cannot hold inside. But those stories might not necessarily get read. We do live in an age of self-publishing (thank God), so no book is truly dead in the water. But when you’ve worked so hard on your art, you want people to read it. You don’t want all that work to be wasted. Sure, some authors are going to write manuscripts they will trunk — those are practice books. But, there are many experienced authors, publishing traditionally or independently, who bleed their souls onto pages. They write, they revise, they suffer, they publish. They get crapped on in reviews. Or worse, they get ignored. And the crazy part is that they come back to do it all over again.
So, thank an author for making art. Buy them a cup of coffee. Better yet, read their book. It took a long time, and a lot of work, to get it done.
And here’s to you, oh author who toils for her art. May the publishing gods smile favorably upon you. And may your stories endure.