We’ve begun our work. Yesterday, for the first time, James and I sat down at our desks in our shared office and we worked on our books. James produced several pages of new work and I did a careful read of the first 80-some pages of Blue Water Dreams. I also made notes on a bunch of the things I want to add to give the book depth.
I started this book at the most shallow of levels, and I’ve been struggling ever since. In order to give myself a structure and some plain goals, I made an outline of the elements of a good romantic novel. I then took those elements and made an outline of my story as it fits the elements, calling each major element a chapter. Next, I wrote a one-page abstract of all of the things that would happen in each chapter.
At that point, I had a map. All of this was in a notebook, handwritten, and I decided that I could simply write the book from the beginning by moving from page to page through the abstract.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. It started the way I had intended. I wrote 23 single-spaced pages on June 7, 2005. But then I didn’t write much more for a long time. I edited those pages until January, only adding another dozen pages in all that time. By March of 2006, I still only had 50 pages. In April, I reached 85. And more than a year later, on July 8, 2006, I broke 100 pages and finished the story. What? A hundred pages long? That’s not a book!
Of course, in that time I also got a promotion at work that meant I worked long hours, sailed all around the San Francisco Bay, and prepared for our long, wonderous sail from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii. Mostly, I worked at Babeland and worked on getting the boat ready. I couldn’t give the book the attention it deserved and that I wanted to give it. At that point in my life, I wanted to sail to Hawaii more than I wanted the book done. I got what I wanted most, but then there was the book…
In Hawaii, James got a killer job and I settled into being a kept woman. From November 11, 2006 to June of 2007, I edited and wrote. As I fleshed out the main and auxilliary characters, the book swelled to 384 pages. I printed versions and went line by line through them. I got an amazing critique from James’ friend from way-back, Ann Pai, and that changed the structure of my story quite a bit. Thanks, Ann! She started me on the process of getting rid of the genre-fiction limitations on the book.
From then, we moved from the Island of Hawaii to Honolulu on Oahu. Suddenly, life was harder and more demanding again. I didn’t work on the book for a very long time. Literally. The next version of the book is dated December 5, 2007. That was in Berkeley, a strange story of its own. And again, nothing until April 4, 2008. Again, nothing until…
Now I’m going to focus each day on this book. I am going to write the rest of the story and clean it up some more. I am going to email Ann Pai and see if she’d be willing to read the book again.
And then I am going to sell the fucker.