i will push SEND (soLs)
Nearly one year ago I began writing a YA fiction story. Something I’ve learned about writing fiction is to avoid back story as much as possible. Right now, though, I’m going to record some of the back story to my writing adventure.
After Stacey and I submitted our completed manuscript of Day by Day I felt this need to write. It was like I couldn’t just stop. Stacey wasn’t ready to jump into a new project and my editor kind of chuckled and said, “Let’s finish Day by Day first.” At the time I only envisioned writing professionally. The idea of writing fiction hadn’t crossed my mind since middle school.
So I decided to read 100 YA books. It was kind of a whim. I didn’t want to just read the books, but learn how they were made. I wanted to learn the inner workings of the genre in order to make me a better teacher at the middle and high school levels. So in mid-April of 2010, I started reading and developed a system to collect my noticings. After four months I was halfway to my goal and learning lots about the genre.
I still had no desire to write YA fiction myself. No desire.
But then, at the end of July, my friend Nate died unexpectedly. My husband and I gave the eulogy at his funeral. We came home completely exhausted at the end of the long day of the funeral, graveside service, and dinner at the church. I picked up a book to read, but couldn’t.
I had to write.
What I found emerging was a YA fiction story. I wrote every single day from the day of Nate’s funeral through December 1 trying to sort out the feelings that came with an unexpected death of a young friend. I wrote when it hurt. I wrote when it didn’t make sense. I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. And then I took a break through the month of December. In January I started writing again. I needed to finish it. I needed to finish it so I knew I could do it. I needed to finish it so I could figure out some of the emotions I was feeling. I needed to finish it so my character, Em, wouldn’t be left in limbo.
I wrote it for me. I didn’t intend to pursue publication. Fiction writing was a pipe dream left over from when I was a little girl. This story was about healing, not about chasing after a dream.
However, today I’m beginning my search for an agent. With the encouragement of Ruth (my friend + crit partner) and my writing group, as well as Andy (my biggest fan + husband) I’ve decided to see where this path will lead. I think I owe it to the story. I think Nate would smirk a little, revealing his smile that I miss, if he knew I wrote 66,566 words because of him.
So today I will push SEND on my query letters to potential agents and see where this path will lead.