There comes a time when you have to push the send key. You’ve laughed with your characters. You’ve cried with your characters. Sometimes you may even have wanted to wring their necks. You know your book inside out. You’ve been pouring your heart into it for months – if you haven’t you shouldn’t be calling yourself a writer. But the day arrives when, like a child, you have to fire it off into the outside world. And then you wait. This piece is not about what happens to it next. It’s out of your hands, at least until the time (you hope) when someone says they are interested. By then of course you are totally immersed in what happened after you hit the send key and perhaps you struggle even to remember the names of those characters you knew so well. You are several chapters into your next book.
A week ago my finger was hovering. All my courage was not in both hands but in that suspended digit. Could I do more? Almost certainly I could but there comes a time…I pushed. I was comforted by the thought that I might be able to some extent to put it out of my mind rather than open my mailbox first thing in the morning and look at it last thing at night in a fever of anticipation. Who am I kidding? I always boot up at the start of the day and stay on line till I go to bed. Only a week later it’s far too early to become feverish – and in any case I have work to do.
In the weeks leading up to submission I was quite sure I knew what my next project was going to be. A book, all eighty-two thousand words of it, not hidden in the bottom drawer but laid aside because I knew it needed a lot of work and what I thought was destined to be my entry for the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) couldn’t possibly be finished in time. I turned to another ‘laid aside’ manuscript and I’m delighted to say it afforded me publication and graduation from the NWS.
Now, I thought last Tuesday, almost rubbing my hands together, I can get back to Daisy. Only something happened to rock that particular boat. In the novel class at The Write Place Creative Writing School, Elaine Everest set us some homework. Regardless of what we were working on at the time we were tasked with writing an outline of our next novel. Of its own volition a new idea jumped front and centre into my mind. Where did that come from? Do we write our own books or do they write themselves. I don’t know. What I do know is that poor Daisy has once again been laid aside as excitement mounts. Even in this short time my hero and heroine are familiar. Already I know their hopes and fears, their strengths and weaknesses. So chapter breakdown is next on my agenda. I’m less of a planner than a panster but I do need some sort of structure. Hopefully it won’t be long before I’m typing Chapter One at the head of the page.
Added to all this I have to admit to being as human as the next person. Of course I will be scanning my inbox. Of course I’ll be waiting and hoping to hear good news of the child I’ve sent into the outside world. At the same time though I will be nurturing my new baby. It may not yet be on solid foods but I will be working to ensure it follows its big sister into the outside world. Come on, Sweetheart, just another spoonful.