Because sometime at the end of July, I found a book I had written two years ago sitting on my desk-top hard drive. It was finished and even published, but then I sent it to a writer friend who said, "This basically sucks." You see, I had written the book with very broad strokes and as he said, "There's nothing to push back on. There's no substance, no structure. Yes, it's informative, but there's no STORY."
I was crushed, as this author is someone I highly regard, so I promptly unpublished it and left it alone. When I found it again, I thought, "Hmmmm. I think I'm ready to tackle this. I think I know what to push back on."
Let me digress.
As you may or may not know, I'm a single parent. I had a volatile relationship with Monster's father, who came and went into our lives when ever he felt like it. I'm over the hurt, disappointment, and pain, Monster is relatively well-adjusted, and I decided after ten years, I was ready to look for a man.
Not so easy. There's a whole lot of stuff I needed to take into consideration with this endeavor, and decided that I would just LOOK and SEE what was out there instead of jumping into the dating pool again. In my little microscopic world, there's no one.
I have no friends with single male friends to set me up with, they're all married. I refuse to do online dating. I don't go to bars or clubs (I think I'm just too old for that now.) We have no family where I could meet a friend of a cousin. Monster attends a private school where everyone is married. No single men anywhere.
Until Stanley. (Not his real name.) Stanley's children attend school with Monster. He was married and his wife, through circumstances I won't discuss, left him a few years ago. Stanley is in the military and has always been our key-note speaker for our Veteran's Day Celebration. I've always been a sucker for a man in uniform and for the last several years have had a mild crush on him. He's very nice, handsome, and very smart. Fine attributes all.
We've had a few brief encounters at the PTO meetings, Veteran's Day, and volleyball games. He laughs at my jokes and takes me seriously when I discuss serious things. I think we're "friends" now, rather than just mere acquaintances.
There is no way I would date this man. Not that I wouldn't want to, but life in a private school is a fish bowl and our children don't need to be involved in the gossip. Besides, he hasn't asked me out, and I would never ask him. Just too old-fashioned.
As I discussed this infatuation with my friend one day, (because what woman doesn't discuss falling in love with her BFF), a whole array of topics were brought to light that I hadn't even considered before. Primarily, how hard it was, as a woman over 50 (!) with a ten year old daughter to find a man who was willing to date her. (I'm not looking for a relationship, just a date.)
As a writer, if I find someone foolish enough to listen to me babble on about plot points and story structure, I will talk their ear off. As my BFF and I discussed Stanley, the root of the new story began to take shape. Conversations about Stanley began to taper off and the story took hold.
My BFF, LOVES this story. She wants me to finish it so she can read it and she's not a big reader. I call her every day to fill her in on where I am in the writing and how I'm going to get to the Happily Ever After.
After a particularly trying day (stress in my personal life is through the roof), I started discussing progress on the book. My BFF said, "It's so nice you have something to look forward to. You're so happy when you talk about your writing. You love it so much."
Writing is hard work, and the Regency series eventually became a "chore". I had lost the magic in writing until I stopped writing for "business" and started writing for fun again. Developing the mystery detective series was fun.
However, this contemporary romance is something I'm particularly excited about as it explores the "plight" of single women everywhere--how they meet men, where they meet men, what women actually want in a man rather than the fantasy they've all dreamt of, and also, what real men are actually looking for in a woman. As we all know, men and women think differently when it comes to relationships and that is what this book is all about.
In case you were wondering, it should be out by Christmas.
Real Life. Real Writing.
Tell me -- Do you pull your stories from real life? Has writing become a "chore"? Have you switched genres to find the fun again?When was the last time you went out on a date?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2015