Over 1,000 pages, handwritten. Over 500 pages, typed. The manuscript for Of Prophesies and Promises was completed today!
Someone asked me recently what I was working on with my writing. I explained that I was completing manuscript #4, which is the sequel to manuscript #3. They asked if #3, Of Stars and Secrets, was in print, and I replied that though I had done one edit, I was working on finishing #4 before I did another rewrite on #3. Since the second is the follow up to the first, they thought I wanted to make sure the sequel matched the first part of the story. I explained that although that was a good strategy, I was more in the frame of mind that writing and creating are very right-brained activities, where editing and critiquing are left brained, and though I view myself as a gymnast when it comes to my current employment, I just couldn’t switch between the two hemispheres from day to day, or hour to hour when it relates to my writing. Now, however, that isn’t a problem. With #4 written (though we all know it will need to be tinkered with), I can focus on #3.
Like any other activity, or recurring thought, writing has become a habit for me. Luckily, it is one that I enjoy and usually doesn’t interfere too much with my other obligations. There is a bigger smile on my face for having written the last word for #4, a sigh of a job well done, but then the habit is, “Well, I have to do some writing tonight.” No, I don’t. The project, for now, is finished. If it takes 21 days to create a habit, how long will it take before I realize I don’t have to write, that there is no pressure to finish what I’ve started? I then wonder how long it will take before I’m pushed, poked, and pulled back to the blank page. As per my first blog, I shared that stories, their conversations between characters, the settings, the action that takes place, plays nearly constantly in my mind. Focusing on teaching, a yoga pose, working with my weanling filly Holly, and singing aloud to Saving Abel or Papa Roach or Shinedown or Distrubed in my truck takes my mind, however briefly, from the stories. But the moment that I allow my concentration to slip on the “now”, there they are, up on the movie screen. (Not exactly, but I don’t know how else to explain it.) In my experience, if I wait to long, they become more persistent. Almost sounds like an addiction . . .
So with a celebratory Woo Hoo!! I lay my pen on the table, and I walk away. The second editing of #3 will be completed within a week, followed by information sent to the very talented person who designs my covers. Once I’m satisfied with the story (taking into account the feedback from my two readers), the manuscript is sent, digitally, to a company in Florida who will format it for me. I check the pages, the chapters, and the general outlay. Once I receive a final page count (it is 502 pages now, and will likely be about 475 pages after formatting) from the formatting company, I make the call to the printers for a quote, including shipping. My graphics person then sends her file to the printers, and I send mine. A couple of days later FedEx delivers the proof. I check the cover, and make sure all the pages are there, that the chapters are in order (again!), then give the go ahead to print. Depending on how many jobs the printer has, they will complete my contract in one to two weeks. I’ll get a call from the trucking company asking about delivery times. I arrange to be at my friend’s garage as the semi backs up and the driver uses a pallet jack to lower the 1,000 books and place them next to the other pallets in the garage. I tear back the shrink-wrap and carefully open one box. There, nestled all together is hours of love, work, and creativity. My goal, then, is to share it with others. I believe that my stories are entertaining, but I write them to also challenge a reader’s thoughts and opinions, perhaps push them out of the their box a bit, to view humanity from a different perspective.
To view the boxes I’ve pushed myself around in, take a look at my first novel, Of Gifts and the Goddess, set in historical Ireland, where the heroine has the gift of clairvoyance. My second novel, Of Dolphins and Desires, takes place in Baja, Mexico, and gives the reader an insight to gangs and cartels. Manuscript #3, Of Stars and Secrets, is Science Fiction, and the heroine is a rogue star ship pilot who delivers vaccine for a mysterious virus. And though readers have clamored for a sequel to my first two novels, #4, Of Prophesies and Promises, is the Science Fiction sequel to #3, and relates the story of Skyler, last of the Future-Fae, as one half of the prophesy called upon to save the universe. Read the Prologues and first two chapters on my web site, www.myjoyenterprises.com