So I am officially in the process of keying in my hand-edits, and naturally adding more edits as I go, to my first draft of my YA novel, which, when I am done, will mean I have the second draft officially done. This is something I have danced around doing for quite some time. Part of that is just good old fashioned procrastination. (What? I'm not the only writer guilty of this?) But a good chunk of it has been rooted in a deep, dark, emotional place for me. I finished my first draft of my novel last August. It was a high like no other. I was walking on air for a solid week and ready to dive back into to draft two, sooner rather than later. But then, like with so many of life's unexpected twists, my phone rang and priorities shifted. I lost my brother a week after I finished my novel. And going back to that happy place just didn't seem like a valid option for a long time.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dawn Turner Trice, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and a YA author herself, speak for the second time at a workshop. Last year during the same workshop, I submitted a page of my novel for her feedback, and she was amazingly supportive and encouraged me to finish it. A month later I did. This year, I was able to tell her how much her words of encouragement meant to me and shared with her that I was now working on the second draft. Because she had shared her own novel-writing process with us the year before, and she spoke of the loss of her sister during the writing of her novel, I shared my own loss with her, and she said that I would be seeing my novel in a whole new light now. Losing someone you love changes everything.
She was right, of course.
Now when I wrote my novel, I believed it had little to do with my life. It was just a good story burning inside me, nothing more. Something I thought that tweens and teens might enjoy reading. Certainly something I enjoyed writing. But as I crept back towards my novel -- editing it in bursts and fits then going back to ignoring it, I began to suspect that there was more of me, more of my family, and more of my brother buried deep in those pages, than I realized during the writing process. I now know that my novel is for him, and that knowledge carries me through the deep, dark, emotional place that I avoided for so long.
I introduced you all to my main character here for the first time, so today I thought I'd take the opportunity to introduce you to her sister, since really, today's post is largely about siblings.
So how are all of you doing? I hope you are all writing brilliant things!
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