I must be honest. This is my third attempt at blogging. My first I was completely unprepared for the commitment it involved. My second was welcomingly disrupted by the arrival of my daughter and delayed by the arrival of my son. I had no idea where to restart this adventure, so I will begin with a few exciting moments of the past few years. My awesome daughter, we will call her
Cailin Sister Bear, arrived in July of 2011 and as excited as a new mommy could be, balancing my writing and motherhood was not my specialty. I pulled all nighters with her nursing and sleeping across my lap determined to finish my first novel—and I did! It wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined. I thought big shouts, jumping up and down, popping a bottle of wine open—but it was more of a relief that I could sleep again.
Cailin Sister Bear became more independent, I gained confidence in my juggling skills. Soon I was working on my first query letter, and I swear that it took longer to write than my actual manuscript. Once I was convinced it was prefect I took the plunge and started submitting! What a rush it was to open my inbox and see replies! I tried not to be too disappointed that they were rejections. It is my first novel, and it was enough to get a reply and another letter to add to the ever growing pile of “one day you’ll kick yourself”. But my excitement soon waned and the reality that my novel most likely was not the perfection I once thought hit hard. When I finally pulled my darling out, it was in need of some work, and recent national incidents had me looking at the YA novel with a more careful eye.
I was geared up to start giving it another rewrite when my husband received orders to Okinawa, Japan (we are a USMC family). I was also expecting baby number 2 and realized that I would have have to break the news to my Muse—I needed a few more months off. I watched with a heavy heart as they packed up my house, my writing materials, and sent them across the world. We arrived here in Okinawa just five short months ago, with my son, we shall call him
Mac Baby Bear, arriving in June 2013. So it is now—September 2013 and I am ready to tackle my writing journey once again.
The biggest struggle re-entering the writing world, was finding the support and fellowship I craved. When one wasn’t available I dabbled with the idea of starting my own, only to have The Okinawa Writer’s Association begin mere hours before I establishing mine. I teamed up with screenwriter, Z, to bring life into The Okinawa Writer’s Association—you can follow our blog here: http://okinawawriters.wordpress.com/. Without this wonderful group of writers, I’m not sure how long I would have left my swivel chair vacant.
There is one writing prompt from our group discussions which sparked my Muse into high gear (and subsequently the start of this blog): Pick your favorite book and summarize it in 140 characters or less. There are two reasons I loved this prompt, one because I have been absent from Twitter for way too long, and two because another writer summarized my favorite book, well series, in a completely different way than I did. My answer—in case you were curious: Orphan grows up without love, but manages to love without regret or filter and because of this he saves the world from unthinkable evil.- Harry Potter.
I applied this same prompt to my manuscript: where do I want it to go, and how many ways might my readers pull out their own summaries. With this in mind I am working on condensing my manuscript summary into that 140 character limit, and then rewriting it multiple times imagining how my readers might do the same. (This exercise has also kicked my butt into retuning to my loved but neglected Twitter account.)
I am leaving you with this challenge then: Leave a comment summarizing your favorite book/series in 140 characters or less. Then, if you are a writer, in your own personal journal do the same for your manuscript, but also write it from three different reader’s perspective. Maybe it will help you streamline any difficulties you may be having, or give you a new perspective as it did for me.
Until next week, my friends.