Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Theme: Beginning is only the Beginning by Deborah Lytton


January 1st always invigorates my writing.  A new year, a fresh start--anything is possible.  I vow to challenge myself to write better, with more meaning, depth and power.  But beginning a manuscript is the easiest part, isn't it?  How many good ideas I have that can't seem to progress past page 20?  15?  10?  And that is where the devotion to our craft comes in--in the pages between the first and the last.  For it is the commitment and discipline to completing the story that makes us writers. 

Books that inspired me to become a writer
The beginning of my journey as a children's author came with the realization that I wanted to write books like the ones I loved as a girl.  The books I read when I was growing up became a part of me and the characters inspired me to be a better person.  I wanted to write books that made a difference to one girl, like those books made a difference to me.  The first middle grade manuscript I wrote was a story about a girl and a horse.  And the real triumph was not the beginning but the very last page.  I had never written something so long.  My early writing was all screenplays which run 90-120 pages with a lot of space on the page.  This first novel was almost 200 pages, and I was so proud of myself for finishing it.  That manuscript has never been published.  And my first publication, JANE IN BLOOM, was actually my seventh complete novel.  I have boxes full of writing that will never be read by anyone but me--and maybe my children.  But those manuscripts gave me the courage not only to begin a story, but to end a story.  They taught me about story flow and character development.  But mostly, they taught me about commitment.  For every ending leaves room for another story to begin.  And the beginning is only the beginning.  

7 comments:

  1. I betcha those first manuscripts can be reinvented or portions will find their way into future work!

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  2. Thanks for the inspiration this morning! I am about to do my 4th edit of my MG novel and this is a nice jolt!

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  3. I love this: "For every ending leaves room for another story to begin." So true, for writing and for life.

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  4. I really related to this entire post. I just posted the following over my computer! "And that is where the devotion to our craft comes in--in the pages between the first and the last. For it is the commitment and discipline to completing the story that makes us writers."

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  5. Thanks for so eloquently describing the process we all go through. Those old attempts are great reminders of how far we've come simply by persevering one word at a time.

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  6. I found myself nodding my head and saying "yes" over and over -- from wanting to write those books that captivated me as a child to the triumph of finishing each new manuscript.

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  7. This is an inspirational post!
    I am very motivated - I just hope I stay that way! I signed up to do 12 x 12 and the Start Write Challenge.... I just hope I can find the time to stick with it and still get everything else done too!

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