Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Magic Carpet Ride

We're in a new reality now where I am a schoolteacher at my alma mater.

Yesterday, I stopped on my way home from school to walk with Nicole. I told her it had been a million years since I really sat down and worked on GCMB (that's Golf Course Murder Book. Book 4), or really on any writing.

But then, I realized that statement wasn't true at all. I turned in my final revision of Home or Away at dinner time on August 15th, about 15 hours before I was due at this new teaching job for my week of workshops. In between, I've written a couple of thousand words and thought about which of my suspects might actually be a murderer.

Sometimes, when I feel like I've been lazy, I really haven't been lazy at all.

And, in the meantime, I've learned a new course management system, planned a month of lessons, organized my classroom, reacquainted myself with Catholic ethos (the school is Catholic and all-girls), and optimized my cheery disposition. 

So it's not like I've been lazing around.

But still, routine is good, so I'm excited to slide into it on Monday. I teach in the afternoons, so I'll be writing in the mornings. Although I only teach afternoons, I have well-lit and comfortable classroom to myself all day, so I'm going to use it as my office. Noise-canceling headphones and a desk and I just know GCMB is going to flow out of me.

I actually do think it will. It doesn't hurt to practice joyful optimism. In fact, it's one of our "little virtues" at school, so it's sort of my job.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Olympic Champions

It's time again to write on my blog. I will tell you the story of the new first chapter of Home or Away, a book I wrote that will be out in March of 2022.

A few things happened:

First, my two pals Bradeigh and Alison read the second-most recent version of the novel, and each felt Chapter 1 wasn't quite right. They offered the same potential solution (convenient!). I attempted it.

"Not quite," said Alison when I showed it to her. I made a few of the additional changes she suggested and then handed it in.

Next, my editor read the newest Chapter 1 and said, "I think we need a slightly different tone." She did some cutting of some hockey jargon, but left me a note that it still needed a magic something.

Lee then also read that version and said, "I do not like Chapter 1. I started liking the book in Chapter 3." You can see now that we have a theme here. Chapter 1 cannot stand as is. Lee offered another strategy, but I couldn't quite figure out how to make it work.

I discussed my predicament with Nicole. It was our whole topic for "stretch and talk," a time on the days when we work together when we simultaneously--you guessed it--stretch! and talk! "Ok," Nicole said. "Let's think about the promise you're making to the reader in Chapter 1 and why that's not working." She asked for some themes of the novel. Competition, I said. Forgiveness. Sisterhood. Commitment. 

Nicole offered another possibility for the chapter based on my answers. I attempted it. Breaking news: I have now sent Chapter 1 back to Lee and Nicole now for review. We can only hope I'm on the right track. If not, the team will go back in the dugout for some more strategizing.