As I dither on the edge of the publishing world I’ve been thinking about how my book came to be.
If I had known at the beginning what I know about the story now, I don’t think I could have started. It’s too big. I would have been swamped and clueless.
Somewhere the entire story existed, and I was only privy to slivers.
The first thing I knew was one scene containing two characters. I knew the characters intimately. I could feel their pasts and futures, and how they intertwined. I began weaving with those two threads.
It was loose material I was creating. If you held it to the light you would see through it quite easily. It was a foundation. Like the simple shapes that lie beneath a finished painting.
As the cloth grew, more of the story was revealed to me. I went back and added more threads; characters, subplots, back stories. The picture was treated to colour. I was getting excited; it was gaining form. It was becoming an entity. It existed separate to me, independent.
Finer threads were woven through; careful detail added. I could step back and view the whole piece, or lean in for a closer look. Sloppy areas were pulled tight. Blunders were painted over, lovingly corrected. I knew when it was right.
Finally the fabric was finished, the painting was complete.
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L Doctorow