Hello again from Home!
A year ago, we were freshly returned to civilization, enjoying such luxuries as water that comes from the tap on a reliable basis and morning tea that does not have to be checked for ants. I am inclined to say that this has been an odd year for us but then, in the dozen years we’ve been adventuring together, I don’t think Prez and I have ever known a ‘normal’ year. And thank goodness!
As some Nutters already are aware, the novel manuscript that has consumed my life since January is now complete – at least until my editor tells me there’s more to fix. What many of you don’t know is that this novel is not mine alone to claim and whatever becomes of it from this point on, the journey will be shared.
First to share in this endeavor, as is the case with all my projects and adventures, is the love of my life, the one and only Prez. For the better part of a year, he has jokingly referred to himself as the “life support system” for the novel. No description could be more apt. In a billion years I couldn’t have asked for a better friend/cheerleader/sounding board/cook/martini maker/promoter/lover and all around patron of the arts.
Prez has literally bent over backwards, (and assumed a plethora of other positions), to ensure that we made enough cash to stay afloat while still allowing me ample time to devote to my work. He’s reminded me to eat – something I often forget to do – and usually he’s the one who makes the food. He’s listened to me ramble on and on and on and on and…you get the picture…about the novel and has taken it well when his advice and suggestions were brushed aside by my annoying enthusiasm. He actually, much to my shock and joy, read the entire first draft of the manuscript and has since raved, to anyone who would listen, about its brilliance. He is, as always, my number one fan.
As a reward for his efforts, Prez has been ignored, almost every day, for most of the day, for most of the year. I can’t think of many husbands who would make that kind of sacrifice, especially not so willingly and with such good humour. If this novel finds a publisher and enjoys any level of success, much of the credit must go to my husband.
I couldn’t have done it without you, Prez. No amount of thank yous will ever be enough. I love you.
And credit is also long overdue to someone else, someone many of you have never heard of or even know exists…my writing partner, Josh.
Yep, that’s right, I did not write this book alone. If you’re wondering why this is the first you’ve heard of my imaginary friend, weellllllllll…it’s complicated. Josh is kind of a private type of guy, so I didn’t figure he would enjoy having his name splashed across a blog read by tens of people. He insisted, fairly early into this project, that I should be the poor sucker who did all, or most, of the ‘publicity’ type of stuff, if it came to that – though I think he’s up for Oprah, should she come knocking.
In reality, this novel was never really meant to be a novel. Josh and I met through a casual writing forum and shared a couple of stories/character pieces. Even though Josh had no burning ambition of becoming a ‘real’ writer, his natural talent was undeniable. I’ve met people who have been working studiously at the craft of writing for most of their lives, with the goal of become published novelists, who didn’t have half the skill Josh has. He brought up the idea of collaboration with me, which I immediately balked at because I was in the process of desperately trying to beat my mostly-dead manuscript back to life. After all, I did have a burning ambition to be a ‘real’ writer and I had to devote my time to ‘real’ writing. Thankfully, my e-friend was persistent and convinced me to hear out an idea for a story that he’d been storing away for some time.
I was impressed. Enough to agree to collaborate with him on this story…but only for fun…and only in my spare time.
Of course, fun soon became work and my spare time soon became every waking minute of my day, which may have been his nefarious plan all along. Impossible to say but I wouldn’t but it past him.
What Josh presented to me was a premise, a world, and a protagonist, all of which instantly intrigued me. After discussions back and forth, I created a protagonist and a world of my own. We swapped technical information, back-story about our characters, details of our worlds, and then we began to write, slowly merging our individual ideas until they were one.
I have never written with a partner and, frankly, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I’m fairly possessive over my art. (Did I really just write that bit of pretentiousness?) To my great surprise, writing with Josh would turn out to be the most fun I’d ever had putting words on paper, (well, technically, on a screen). Scenes were only loosely discussed and planned but I would have very firm ideas in my mind about how they would unfold. Once we would start writing, however, Josh would throw out some curveball that would catch me completely off guard and force me to re-think everything I’d planned. It was frustrating, and invigorating, and it made me let go of all my ideas of what ‘real’ writing should be and just…be. It was strangely liberating.
Eventually the fun reached a tipping point, though. I was getting no other writing done, all I could think about was this story. We had both commented, at different times, that the story needed to be a novel but that was a level of commitment I wasn’t sure either of us were prepared for. Writing for fun is one matter, writing with the intent of creating a publishable novel (or, in this case, series of novels) is an entirely different matter. Going into business, and this would be a business venture, with a friend is not something to enter into lightly. I had no end of fears and nightmarish ‘what if’ scenarios but a decision had to be made. Either we were going to get serious or we were going to call it quits, so I could get back to my fledgling career.
In retrospect, I don’t think the decision was ever really ours to make. The novel demanded to be written and we were now just along for the ride.
As it turns out, Josh and I are as compatible at the business end as we are at the creative end, so my fears were put to rest. And now it looks like our efforts and our faith in each other may be rewarded as we have an agent who has given us a contract to sign and is interested in finding our novel a publisher.
And now that our bit of fun has become a piece of ‘real’ writing, I figured it was high time to force Josh out into the open and shower him with the praise and credit he so rightfully deserves, whether he likes it or not. Thanks my friend!
Last but by no means least, this novel also belongs to all of my friends and family who have been so unbelievably supportive of me over the years. Even the smallest word of encouragement can be enough to get me through those moments where I question my sanity for heading down such a difficult road, a road where so few people find success. I love you all, thank you for being there!
Where does it go from here? Who knows. But I have an amazing husband, a fantastic writing partner/friend and a whole bunch of inspiring friends to make the journey with me. What better happy ending could I ask for?
Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to Canucks everywhere!!