My fellow writer, Maxine Davenport, loaned me her copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. It was such a personal account of how he writes, so different from most books on writing. It was a pleasure to read probably because it was so heartfelt. What captured me was his process. He writes the first draft “with the door closed.” The second draft is done “with the door open.” He does not let anyone see his first draft. He works on it until he has a satisfactory second draft. That is the one he shares for feedback. I belong to a critique group of some very kind-hearted and perceptive people; however, having to come up with ten to twenty pages every two weeks for the group was daunting for me. Writing does not come easily for me. I also find it disorienting to work this way. I mull a great deal; I need time. That first draft should just come out and yet there should be plenty of time to mull. The muse needs to be unrestricted. Creativity is sloppy, without rules. One needs to get into the flow, the Zen of writing. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going with a story, and sharing it before you get to your destination can be so restrictive. I didn’t learn what my novel was about until I reached the end. I also think that when your critics read a complete manuscript, it’s easier on them and more productive for you. (Note to my former students: Much of what I taught you is valuable. Much you can ignore. Read King’s On Writing and you’ll understand.)
While I was “vacationing” with my novel sending me postcards so I wouldn’t forget it, I developed the idea for a spinoff young adult novel with one of the characters from the first book (Lupe) as the main character. I also found myself ruminating about some short stories I’d started but not finished. And there are poems I should submit to the literary magazines. And I thought I might publish my play and film scripts in a collection.
I have decided to publish the young adult novel I’ve been working on when I have that second one pretty well on its way. And, yes, there is a third book with one of the other characters (Hank) as the main character. I haven’t completely settled on the plot for that one—but I will. That way, my readers won’t have to wait so long for another.
Yep. Vacation’s over.
P.S. Re the above picture: Checkmate (later renamed Showdown at Galisteo) is a script Sunny Fader and I wrote for Sheri Mann's acting class. We were given the opportunity to film it at Eaves Ranch. The Cheyenne Social Club was first filmed here, and the place is still used for film work.