Quite a few of you expressed interest in following the revision process for my book that will be published in 2020. I’m excited about that because I love rewriting. Over twenty years ago, my editor, Christy, wrote in her first editorial letter to me, “Rewriting can be truly magical.” Those words come to me every time I begin to revise my newest manuscript.
By sharing my rewriting process as I go along, I hope to give you a clear vision of what it’s like for a writer, at least this writer as I return to the same story, again and again, attempting to make it better with each draft until is good enough for you, the reader. Warning: It may sometimes be an emotional journey because I haven’t learned to write any other way.
Before you jump on the train and head down the revision tracks with me, I thought you might want to know about how I came up with the idea of NOWHERE, TEXAS.
I never planned to write a sequel or a companion novel to WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN. I never wanted to. I had said all I wanted to say about that story. Recently though I wondered what happened to Toby? Who did he marry? Did he have any children? When I started to think who he might have married, I laughed, thinking, “Of course!” Then a new story started to ignite. I could write about his son, I thought and Cal’s son. They could be friends just like Toby and Cal. Thank goodness I quickly realized that would be the wrong story to write. It would have been hard not to write the same book.
But what if Toby had a thirteen-year-old daughter and Cal didn’t have children? Who would be her friend? And what if we found out what happened to the good folks of Antler and Zachary Beaver? The story started to form. When I did the math on Toby’s and his wife’s ages, it put the story in the early part of this century. My hopes are to show how 9/11 cast its shadow on a small town, not unlike the way the Viet Nam war did in WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN. And like her father’s story, Rylee Wilson learns that true friendship endures.
That’s how it began. And now together, we’ll see where the journey takes us.