Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Thirty-Page Labor

I haven’t been blogging the last few weeks because I have been working diligently on completing the rough draft of my next Mac Faraday Mystery, Old Loves Die Hard (working title) while recovering from my gallbladder surgery. Now comes the hard part. Revising and editing.
One of the most gratifying feelings in writing is finishing the first draft. It’s like child birth. There’s the pregnancy where everything comes together. Then there is the getting it out. That’s the rough draft. After giving birth to the book, the writer’s next job is to mold and shape it to maturity while praying that it doesn’t end up killing anyone.
Old Loves Die Hard was born after a three day long labor. Trying to push those last 30 pages out was harder than the first 200 pages.
By the time the writer reaches the ending pages of a book the words seem to flow from the fingertips to the keyboard onto the page. I was in the zone the other night when I had reached that point. However, I am not only a writer, I am also a Mom and my son has to get up at 5:45 am to go to school. So, I went to bed with the words of those last 30 pages dancing in my head.
Jack suggested that I stay up and finish them, but I said no. “I’ll finish it tomorrow.”
I should have listened to Jack.
At 5:00 am a noise came clattering through the walls into our bedroom.
“What was that?” Jack sat up in bed.
Beagle Bailey woke up with a noise that resembled a mixture of a beagle bay and howl. Ziggy just plain wanted to kill it, whatever it was.
IT was a guinea hen that had decided to take up residence on the porch rail outside our front door.
I like wildlife. That’s why I live in the woods on our mountain in West Virginia. I love to look out the picture windows in my studio to see a herd of deer grazing in our backyard.
I don’t like wildlife when it is a loud fifty-pound bird sitting at our front door going CLACK-ACK-ACK-ACK!
It was still there at 7 am when I had to take Tristan to the bus stop. “Do something,” I told Jack.
“I’m not going out there,” my brave husband replied. “That thing’s big.”
So, I did the only thing I could do. I released the hounds. Beagle Bailey is no dummy. That bird was bigger than he is. He launched his attack verbally from the safety of our home.
Fearless, Ziggy shot like a bullet out the door and chased the bird up into a tree on the other side of the driveway while Tristan and I made a run for it. I had to chase the bus halfway down the mountain, but I got him to school. When I returned, the guinea hen was still up in the tree and she was not happy.
They were at it for an hour until Ziggy tired of fighting with a bird that refused to come down and fight like a dog. After breakfast and a drink of water he went back out for round two. Then round three. Then round four, etc. They continued all day long. The only time I had peace was when Ziggy came in to gargle.
All day, that bird taunted me while I tried to concentrate on pushing those thirty pages from my mind to my fingertips to the keyboard and onto the paper.
Ziggy and Bailey would answer back. WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF!
Try giving birth to a literary masterpiece with CLACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK! WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF!
That bird remained in our front yard for three days! Every morning I would have to send out Ziggy to chase her away in order to get Tristan to the bus stop. Then I would continue pushing those last thirty pages out to the tune of CLACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK! WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF-WHOOF!
But now, looking at my latest Mac Faraday Mystery, Old Loves Die Hard, like every proud mother, it was worth it.
I can’t wait for all of you to see my new baby.

No comments: