Well, as many wise authors have offered, the answer to how do you begin writing a book is, “just write and write some more.” That advice is wonderful if you’re not paralyzed by fear! But, since I was a small child I’d faced fear many times and found a way through, hadn’t I? This was different. First, I had had success as a self-help author and now I was going to write a novel. A completely different genre. Who do I think I am!? Self-help writing just poured out of me. But novel writing? That’s a different story (pardon the pun). Also, I felt I had an important story to tell and I needed to get it right. I didn’t just want to tell a story, I had to get the writing right.
Okay, here’s what I mean by right. There are two important pieces to the story of Verdererer:
- It contains many references to the science of trees; their connectivity to each other, the environment, and mostly to the main character.
- One of the important characters, and the love interest of the female protagonist, is an Abenaki, Native American. I had to do intense research on the culture, history, and cultural beliefs of present day Abenaki peoples. I also didn’t want to upset anyone by getting the information wrong (especially since the tribal leader of the local Abenaki tribe lives down the street from me here in the small town of Shelburne, Vermont).
So, you can see why I might be just a tiny bit nervous about the writing. By the time I got to the serious typing of the manuscript, many years of hesitation had passed and the continued stalling was beginning to hurt my head!
After I got the complete story clearly formed despite my headache, the research needed to began in earnest. I went to the library, I ordered dozens of books from Amazon, and spent hours trying not to drown in the black hole of the internet. At one point I felt so bogged down by research I forgot to actually write and had to pull myself back from the edge. I decided to wake every morning at 6:30, grab some coffee and breakfast, go to my office down the hall and sit at my old MacBook. I got back to writing and finally spilled out about 59,000 words onto to the page, editing and re-editing as I wrote in an attempt to create a more cohesive story line. Ta-da! Done!
In my next blog posting, I’ll write about the next stage—-the fear of not getting published, or rather the fear of not finding an agent to get the book sold. Ugh.