“A whole new world,
A new fantastic point of view.
No one to tell us no, or where to go.
Or say we’re only dreaming.”
~Aladdin, “A Whole New World”
(Is that song now stuck in your head like it is in mine? You’re welcome.)
Did you all see me doing a happy dance yesterday? Hear me shouting from the rooftops? Sense me bopping around in a bubble of writerly bliss? Or, perhaps more accurately: did you all read my gleeful postings on Facebook and Twitter? If so, then you already know that I started drafting my new book yesterday and that I am (ridiculously, unbelievably, all-encompassingly) excited about it. After several weeks of research and character development, I truly couldn’t wait to dive in and begin telling my characters’ story. Sure, there were a few conflicting emotions in the days leading up to it – as anyone who’s traveled the querying journey knows, sometimes it’s an intensely difficult road to navigate – but more than anything else, what I felt yesterday morning upon sitting down in my desk chair was joy. Adrenaline. Hope. Love.
I was worried it might feel strange at first, writing about a new set of characters after having spent two and a half years with the previous ones. Sofie and her story have become entrenched in my heart in a very important way, and I wasn’t sure how things would go when I attempted to put myself in the head of a different main character. Until I actually began writing. Until Remi grew from someone on the page to someone in my mind, in my eyes. Is it possible to feel an instant bond with someone who isn’t real? Because with her, I do, even though most of her life is completely different from anything I’ve experienced. I just … get her. I understand what makes her tick, what makes her hope, what makes her take a leap of faith that most people would think is foolhardy and much too spontaneous. Do I still have a lot to learn about her? Of course. She has a lot to teach me, just like all my characters have. Just like Charlotte, around whom the other half of the book is focused, will. I’m looking forward to starting chapter two – and her part of the story – tomorrow. I’ve never worked on a manuscript before where the chapters alternate evenly between characters (and settings … and decades … and perspectives …), but I can’t wait to see how it plays out. So far it’s been a total blast. Jumping into this whole new world is exhilarating. It’s like the air actually has electricity in it, like the charge is palpable.
Already, I can tell that this novel is going to be an entirely different experience than any I’ve written previously. I think that’s a good thing, though. Each project impacts us in special ways. Each helps us grow, both as writers and as people, in special ways. And each imprints a handprint on our hearts in special ways. In the midst of querying Mine to Love, this new book-baby is going to be a bright spot. It’s going to be a reminder of the joy of writing, not the struggle for publication. I need that right now. I think all writers need that always. We can revise, we can query, we can submit, we can (fingers crossed) publish one day, but the actual writing is the heart of it. Sharing our characters’ journeys, going for the ride alongside them, is still the soul of it.
And isn’t that what life’s all about, heart and soul?