Saturday, February 23, 2008

Best Year Progress Report

First of all, I want to thank Vicki for adding five more books to my TBR pile, which is already a monster of crushing weight that taunts me from its shadowy corner every time I enter my bedroom. Reading about Canadian writers, though, did cause me to think of a new writer from BC by the name of Sharon Rowse, whose first book, The Silk Train Murder, just came out to wonderful reviews. The mystery is set in Canada at the turn of the 20th Century and features a failed gold prospector who takes a job as a detective on the 'silk train', which ran from Vancouver to New York, carrying silks and luxury textiles from the Orient. It's not only a ripping yarn, it's a fascinating history of a time, place, and events I was totally unfamiliar with.

And, I must comment about Debby's post concerning how a writer faces the end of her book. I totally relate to her fear of not being able to pull it off. It's really horrible to know exactly how you want it to come off and not be sure you have the chops to do it. What you must do, of course, is just do it. I never quite achieve the brilliant, knock-your-socks-off triumph that I had envisioned, but I'm usually pleased enough in the end. Thus far, I've been happy to finish, partly because I often don't know exactly how it's going to end, myself, until it does. Having said that, I'm reminded of a blog entry I did just recently on my own web site entitled I Just Can't Let It Go. Once I do finish a book, I love to go back over it and fiddle with it, changing a word here, a sentence there, like polishing a new-made piece of furniture, trying to achieve that perfect patina.

I just finished a book, in fact, and sent it off to my editor a couple of weeks ago, because the day comes that you have to send the MS off for better or worse. I resepect this woman's opinion immensely, and am always a little anxious when awaiting her verdict. I got her comments back last night. She was extraordinarily complimentary, and right at the moment, I am on cloud nine.
Novel writing is hard, don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Sometimes you have to persevere in the face of a lot of disappointment, and have faith in yourself even when it seems no one else does. But if you do, wonderful things could happen.

By the way, I promised an occasional report on the progress of the Best Year of My Life, so here is the first one : so far, so pretty damn good.

(The instant I wrote that, I was overcome with a Chinese-like fear of tempting the gods. I don't know why I distrust good fortune. I never distrust bad fortune.)


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