Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing in February, thoughts about a mentor, and "pontoon days!"

One thing this drastically cold weather does is force us to stay inside and get more writing, revising, and editing completed! This morning, I revised and edited Chapter 5--one that is many years old at that--and have it just about ready to add to my growing "draft" manuscript for novel number two. I include the photo at the left as a reminder that the wonderful "lake and pontoon days" are but a short time off and we'll soon be back up in Michigan and getting good writing completed!

Novel number two is a sequel to the first one--Black Wolf Lodge--as there's something about the two main characters that I just am not willing to part with just yet. Also, I think I owe it to them--and myself--to write the story that was begun nearly ten years ago! It has been one of those things that just has always been "there." I wrote a rather extensive synopsis of it (it lies before me even now as I type this) and have actually researched things for the story more than for the first novel. It has been one of those things that I've often thought about, particularly in the summer up in Michigan, where I have done most of my "serious" writing. 

To simply discard the whole thing now (I think there are 17 or 18 chapters written as "rough" drafts) would be something too much to handle. Like the first book, where I was nearly obsessed with bringing the story to a  satisfactory conclusion, I really have--need--to complete this next one. For better or worse, I won't be able to seriously get started on another story until this one is "in the can," so to speak.

Call it what you will, this story is one I liked from the beginning and have found myself getting back into it full speed ahead! My plan right now is to have a full "draft" of all chapters ready to rewrite, revise, and edit by the time I head to Michigan for this upcoming summer. 

When I began Black Wolf Lodge and my current follow-up book (circa 2000), I was largely inspired by an older gentleman I'd become friends with on AOL (Remember those early days?). He had published several books of his own, and he was going to serve as my mentor, sage, adviser, etc., etc. I was still teaching and finding time to write during summer school and at the lake. We even got together during spring breaks in Florida, where he and his wife live. He instilled in me the importance of discipline and the credo to write "a chapter a day!" His constant question: "When are you going to finish your book?" I always had to tell him that it would, indeed, be finished someday--after I was retired, probably. As it turned out, that's exactly what happened.

As the years wore on, however, our contacts faded, and his earlier enthusiasm went somewhere I've often wondered about. Not sure if health issues of his played a part, but I became quite disappointed in his change of direction. Now all I receive from him are forwarded e-mails about nothing but politics. I fear he's become a jaded and bitter person--and not even writing anymore! And I really realized that he was probably no longer interested in my efforts about a year ago when my wife and I were vacationing in Florida and had made plans to hook up with him and his wife, take them to lunch, and have a nice "reunion" of sorts. When we knocked on their door--several times--his wife came to the door and informed us that he was very sick and not able to go anywhere. Whether that was the case or not, a simple phone call before we drove to their residence that morning would have made the situation a whole lot more tolerable. But, as I've said many times, so it goes...

And another adventure down another road we shall travel...MLA

1 comment:

  1. ...a simple phone call before we drove to their residence that morning would have made the situation a whole lot more tolerable.

    Had a similar situation with an old army buddy, found out through an off hand source that he had moved close to my area. We were like brothers while in the service but after a couple of years something changed, when I knocked on his door I was told to leave and never bother him again. I have absolutely no idea what the problem may have been, but I left the guy alone, sure wish I had called first.

    Just surfing around and stumbled on you blog, later.