Getting Back On the Road

For almost two years now, I’ve been ignoring a young adult book I’d started writing. The printed out pages of critiqued chapters lay on the corner of my desk, haunting me, reminding me that there’s story which is far from finished.

I’m not really sure why I stopped writing it. I could blame the circumstances in my personal life (ie I had a baby) but that would be lying. It probably had more to do with the fact that I knew I was coming to a point where I didn’t know how to continue. I had the plot of three more chapters planned out in my head. As for the rest, I only know how I want the novel to end. I haven’t got a clue how to get my characters there.

Anyway, I had a deadline for my writing group looming over me and no story idea. All I could think of were the three unwritten chapters already planned out. Out of desperation I chose to write two of these. And what I discovered was… I had really missed my characters. I so enjoyed writing it and they all came back alive again.

I’m still not sure where to go from here but I know I want to find out. It’ll hopefully be like E.L.Doctorow said:

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

I just had to get back on the road, and now I have to keep on driving. I can’t wait to write my next chapter…



9 thoughts on “Getting Back On the Road

  1. How wonderful that we have these other people in our lives who force us to return to some aspect of our work through some form of shared obligation. And how doubly wonderful that you discovered how much you missed your characters. Congratulations! The quote about the headlights is brilliant. I plan to put it above my PC so I can stare at it in the middle of the night when I’m in most need of encouragement.

    1. Did you print out the quote? The quote hanging above my computer is “You can’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration is waiting for you.”

  2. I very much relate to this post, Vanessa. I have a wall of research photos relating to a project I started in 2000 and every day the characters beckon to me to the point where I know they are extremely irritated with me. Over the years I’ve realized that my style tends to be to start a project, put it down sometimes for years, and then rotate back to it after the idea has matured enough in my mind. But this one project is the one I haven’t picked up in years, even though I sort of know where I want it to go. The quote you included about the headlights really resonates, as it’s such a great reminder that we don’t have to have the middle figured out sometimes until we get there. Thanks for the inspiration and good luck with your young adult book!

    1. Hello Laurel, maybe this is another push to get back to that story. I hope you do – I’m really glad I got to writing my neglected story.

        1. That’s a good idea! We’ll do that. And thanks for the words of encouragement for the magazine launch. We can use them, the last miles always seem to be the toughest!

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