One of the pieces of advice I remember most was given by my college dance instructor,”Laney, you’re one of those dancers who has all this talent but never comes to class.” She shook her head, I remember, as if I were driving her crazy and went on to say that I could do so much with my talent if I just put the time in.
Thing was, I’d been dancing my entire life. I’d put the time in. I’d busted my ass and now all I wanted to do was show it. I wanted to perform. And so I did. I put in hours and hours of rehearsal time every week, performed a few times a year and I loved it. I wasn’t interested in going to class. I knew the drill. I was happy in the now. I was performing and performing well and wasn’t THAT the point??
For Ms. Alora, there was so much more that I was capable of. So much more I was losing out on. I was a good dancer. But in my instructors eyes, I could’ve been great. I was wasting my talent by not coming to class.
Sure I could’ve gone much further than I did. Busted my ass a little harder, hung in there a little longer. But, I was happy doing what I was doing.
Now, as I read everything under the sun in regard to publishing and honing the craft as a writer, I wonder, have I put in the time? Would my dance instructor say, “Laney, you need to keep studying. Don’t publish yet.”
After dancing for close to 16 years at the time of her first bit of advice, she still wanted more. I continued to dance for many years after that and I never forgot her words.
As I look at my completed novel, I wonder, should I study for a little longer? Bust my ass for a few more years?
Was Ms. Alora right?
I put in my time as a dancer. Years and years of it. And at the end of the day, I did what made me happy. That should count for something. When is it ok to trust that you’re on the right path for you?
No one can say whether or not I should have showed up for class more. Or that going along with what someone else thought was the right way to go–was indeed the right way. It was my way. I get to choose. And if I fail, then I fail–but at least I tried. At least I chose the road to travel–it wasn’t chosen for me.
I didn’t fail as a dancer because my path was different from what was expected–I excelled because I listened to what I thought was right.
All this second guessing surrounding the publishing industry is enough to drown new writers. Which way is up or down? Will people like my work? Will they destroy it with reviews?
But here’s the real question–Will you be happy or even content if you don’t publish your work? If it stays hidden in a drawer?
Why put in all that time and effort if you don’t plan to perform?
I mean, that’s the whole point. Isn’t it?
I like the prologue. It’s useful. Who cares if no one else reads them? I read them!
In YA, prologues are a no-no, or so everyone says. But they are everywhere. Out of the last few series of books I’ve read, approx. twelve out of fifteen books, had a prologue. So who’s right and who is reading the prologue? Besides me?
I know a lot of readers skip them and move to the action, but sometimes we need that beginning info to further understand the story. Who cares if it’s back story? Some stories, especially those that are historical or move back and forth through time, need back story.
Prologue thoughts? Opinions? Good, bad, don’t care?
“Whether we are describing a king, an assassin, a thief, an honest man, a prostitute, a nun, a young girl, or a stallholder in a market, it is always ourselves that we are describing.”
-Guy De Maupassant
It’s here. One year. The date is here. April 19th of 2010, I started my novel. After several rewrites, here I am one year later in the middle of my final draft. When I took on this challenge it was literally without thought or pre-meditation. I sat down and started writing. There was no outline, only a sliver of an idea that I ran with. It’s been an interesting ride to the say the least and beyond rewarding…..and exhausting.
As incredibly gratifying as it would be to eventually become published, that was not the reason I began my novel nor will it be the reason I continue beyond it.
My goal of completion comes closer to reality every day. Until then, I am thankful to have the unwavering dedication to see my novel to fruition. Thanks for everyone’s support and kind words of wisdom and inspiration, they help tremendously and keep my eyes on the prize.
“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.”
It may be upstream but I won’t stop. I know it may sound crazy, but my characters are what ultimately keep me moving. No matter how frustrated I may get or how many times I close the laptop and rest my head on the edge of the desk, they won’t let me stop writing. They are begging for their story to be told. And what can I say….? I owe it to them to make the most of this story and give it all I have. It’s a strange thing really. This is YA fiction, not reality, not a memoir. But the characters have become people. I’m guessing only my fellow writers can fathom where I’m coming from. As much as I may complain, it’s a good place to be.
Writing the Novel:
The relentless pursuit of yourself. It takes everything you have. Your time, your mind, your heart, your soul, your sanity. And at last when you have given all you can give, it asks for more and brings you to your knees.