LEARNING ABOUT WHY I WROTE MY OWN BOOK
Up until I retired, my writing was 90% business and 10% creative, and the creative consisted of skits and short plays. My first serious effort when time was my own was a full-length play that did see the light of day. That launched me into writing historical fiction.
My first work, Fresh Snow on Bedford Falls became a near obsession. I’ll save the story of all the writer’s mistakes I made in its production for another blog. Once I finally submitted the final manuscript and added the dedication, applicable quote, preface, acknowledgements, and author bio, my self-published book went to press, figuratively.
Then began the ongoing effort to market my work starting with a website, PR kit, Facebook author page, and a YouTube campaign. Beyond this, my team identified opportunities for interviews on radio and various internet sites. When I began to participate in this arena was when I began getting questions that I’d never consciously considered.
So, why did you write this book? Did you have a message you wanted to convey and to whom? Why did or didn’t you write a particular part of the book in a certain way? What characters did you find most interesting to write about? What do you find to be the hardest part of the writing process? Who are your favorite authors? Did you try to immolate any of them? And so on.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I was in the middle of Fresh Snow on Bedford Falls, I was not writing in anticipation of being asked any of these questions. I was far too busy trying to learn my new avocation, the hard way I might add. Learning how to get started every day to relearning grammar, vocabulary, tense, and pace was my focus from beginning to end.
As I work on my fifth book, thanks to the help of a woman named Robin, I am spending a bit more time at the front end dealing with themes, arcs, and the like. This is difficult for me being an impatient soul, and I still find myself caught up in the creative process of the moment, the purpose be damned.
It is now my growing habit to create a book’s outline, which, in some part attempts to address some of the questions I’ll likely get about the work when it’s finished. Once the writing starts, however, I can easily ignore these notes and that little reminding voice in my head. This is most often because, at my age, I’m paranoid of losing any creative idea. They never stay long.
At least subconsciously, however, I now seem to retain a book’s over-arching theme which looms just out of focus like a subtle shadow on the font as I type. Once finished, the message, and the choices I made in its delivery, becomes surprisingly clear. In turn, the answers to those pesky questions to come will be easier to retrieve and articulate.
PS - I can’t wait for the day when someone asked me the question: "which of my many works is my favorite?"