THE BIRTH OF A STORY
I have recently had a meeting with the first of my two ‘readers’ who critique my new stories. Rich Dinter is an avid reader and one of the smartest people I know–his insights are always timely and candid. His first email prior to our meeting suggested that I’ve just written an ‘EPILOGUE’ to my previous novels. He was spot on.
My twelfth novel is titled TWELVE. In my prologue I say admit, “when I began writing TWELVE I had no idea where it would take me. Usually the title speaks to me somewhere during the story but not this time. This time I had a title without a story.”
Later, another admission that I made was that, like many authors, a first novel is “like a son and those that follow like grandchildren.’ I have always wanted to go back my first title (To Bless or to Blame), back to the early 1900’s and the colorful history that unfolded in Hibbing’s days of your. Instead, I engendered grandchildren of Peter Moran through five generations, ending with Father Mickey Moran. Well, not really ending with Mickey as he has been my protagonist in my last several novels–all contemporary in their setting.
In my last novel I introduced a new character named Paul Martin. Some of my readers believed that Paul is actually yours truly in that he is a retired Hibbing teacher. I will only admit that an author must draw upon his or her own personal experiences to create realistic fictional characters. To that end I’ll concede to being Paul’s ghost. In TWELVE i’ve used Paul to touch those earlier times once again. Thus what Rich suggested is as accurate as I expected it to be
My last novel is an epilogue of sorts. I am certain that it will be the last of the Moran story. Yet, TWELVE had to be a story in and of itself–that was my challenge from the very first words. I believe I pulled it off . . . Rich was less convinced, despite his compliments on how vastly improved my writing skills have become over the years.
Now my dilemma.
Writing has become a passion/obsession for over these past many years. While wintering in Florida these past five years I have started nearly every day with my writing. By the afternoon I am spent. So, I visit with neighbors, go beach-walking, or biking to round out my days. (Much of my ‘free’ time is spent with my daughter Erin and my two grandchildren who live a short drive from my place.) Yet, a bike ride or a beach walk is never without the voices of the Morans in the back of my thoughts. It’s like having a second family. Now, I’ll have to try to come up with something different: It’s like my family and friends are gone. I don’t think that blogging will fulfill my need to write but I’ll give it an effort. Wish me luck.
Now I’ve made some modifications to my new story as per Rich’s suggestions and await the analysis of my second reader, or readers. I’ve asked Jim Huber to share the story with his wife, Marian, who is an avid reader. Hopefully, now retired, she will give it a read as well as Jim. (Any novelist will acknowledge that women are their primary readership. I would estimate that at least 80% of my readers are local and female.)
After my next critique, it will be on to another ‘rewrite’ and then to final editing and formatting. Renee Anderson at Express Print has already come up with another very attractive cover concept. So, until then, my wishes for a Happy Independence Day to all.