Out with the Old

The deadline for the Banff Writing Centre is this Friday. I think that I have my pages ready. I have tweaked and toiled and stressed and fretted. I have told myself that I am not ready to put myself in this position. I have told myself that what I have written is derivative and uninspired. I have told myself every thing that I could possibly say to persuade myself to stay away from this so that I can avoid any disappointment that might arise from it.

It was hard choosing which sections to provide. Mostly because I am not sure if any of it is any “good” and so I find myself stressing over just the selection itself. I decided to chose those sections where I felt were the most fun for me to write. In the end, it because an introduction to the four major characters of the book with each having their opportunity to write. It seemed that they all wanted to have their say. And, although, I know some characters are stronger than others, they all have value.

What I have found is that I have an amazing ability to edit and double edit and triple obsess if I give myself permission to do so. It seems that I am never done. At the same time, by putting on this “cap,” I cut off some of the other creative aspects that want their time in the sun. I think by the end of my writing time yesterday, I knew that I had to close off the computer and walk away or I would just keep going. I would inevitably criple myself from writing anything further and think it was all shit and toss it. So, I asked my partner to look it over for any missed grammatical/punctuation errors and I am sending it off after one more read tomorrow. And then it will be done.

In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about these characters and where they are going. I find that one of them in particular enjoys visiting me in the shower. Pieces of her story come to me as I am washing my hair. I don’t necessarily know if this is the next scene or not, just that it is going to happen. It all is incredibly exciting.

Yesterday, I also threw out some of the writing that I worked on about five years ago in my writing course. I looked it over and most of it were merely exercises and not something I would want people to find. Other exercises I kept because I found potential there. What I also realized is that I have been writing this book for years. It showed itself in various incarnations. When a story wants to be told. It will be eventually I guess.

I was actually looking for a story that I wrote, but I couldn’t find it. I still cannot find it. I woke up thinking about this character. I hadn’t thought of him in a long time. I don’t know if I was ready to deal with him or not, but he’s returned and I cannot find the story. It might mean that I have to start over – which might not be so bad.

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About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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