Novel In Progress Part 1: Caterpillars to Butterflies

The first third of the book is written. What an incredible journey! The transformation of character and writer moved from thinker to doer. Emilie has grown from a glimmer of a girl to a strong-willed woman, still living on the edge of proper, she learns more about herself every day. She is growing in wisdom and gathering courage and strength for what is coming. Both of us, I can proudly say are busy transforming like caterpillars to butterflies. My hope is that we both shine in the end. Ironically, neither of us at this moment knows our own fate.

Books entitled The First 50 Pages and Writing the Breakout Novel as well as checklists, outlines and character profiles litter my writing space. All of this is my attempt to write a strong, historically accurate lovable novel. I have read blogs asking me as a writer to think about why I write, is it fame and fortune that drives me or do I write from the heart? As a new writer, I am thinking long and hard about all of these questions. It is easy to get overwhelmed.

I have discovered I am a storyteller. Yes, fame and fortune are alluring, public speaking and book signings will certainly break me out of my long, lonely days of writing. I will love that ALOT! At the heart of it all, I want to tell Emilie’s story because I think civilian life during the Civil War has not been given the attention it needs. The civilians in any town touched by war lived through incredible adversity. They lived through the dangers and then left to clean up the aftermath. Throw a few good twists and turns and this is a story worth telling.

The stage is set. All the characters are in their place. I have reviewed the lists and chapters, almost committed them to memory. It does not help that I am a perfectionist. Detail orientated to the extreme. When I am not writing, I am thinking about writing. When I am writing I am thinking about “Did I do enough research? Is there enough detail?” Part of my growth during the first part of the novel is to quiet the worry and chatter. I have adopted two mantras to keep me centered. Each one written on a sticky note and taped to my computer.  Shut up and Write! and Relax! Let the story tell itself!  Both notes keep me on track. Once I get things under control and stop over thinking it is amazing how the characters come alive and the chapters write themselves. My fiance remarks he knows I am having a good day when I type without stopping and smile while I do it 🙂 (He’s right!)

It is here that I must put away the books and checklists. Clean up my desk. Today is the final read on 1861. Emilie needs to move on and grow her relationships, live through the fear of the unknown and learn what it is to support the troops. She has to gather strength and wisdom in 1862 because she will need it when the war comes knocking on her door.