Think of it like one of our many weather delays as we tried to make our way to Florida from Maine aboard “Little Prince”. I’ve accumulated 55,000 words and 18 chapters. That was the easy part. Now the hard part, making it something other people will want to read. At least that’s how Ernest Hemingway described this process.
“Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is s***. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself.”Ernest Hemingway
At least I’m in good company as I start the re-write of the beginning of my story, again. I have at least forty-five more tries to go before I’ve worked it as hard as Hemingway. Given this is my first book, that’s probably wishful thinking on my part. Regardless, my goal is to write the best book I can and I’m going to “work it over” as many times as I have to to get there.
I recently joined the Florida Writers Association and am now participating in critiquing session with a group in Bradenton. They’ve been a huge help. Because of COVID 19 we meet virtually and read what we want critiqued to the group of between four and six participants. I have gotten up to Chapter 3 with the group and after that session I’m returning to Chapter 1.
Knowing where to start has been one of the hardest parts of this process. I had put off writing until I figured out where to start. When a streak of brilliance didn’t alight my project I just started. I wasn’t particularly happy with the start but it allowed me to get past that first stumbling block. Now I need to really get it right.
I’m almost finished reading my fifth memoir and about an equal number of books on writing creative non-fiction, or memoir, or new autobiography, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve also read books on the Mayflower, pirates and the history of various ship wrecks and ship building. I’m all in on this project, but like all good things, it’s going to take some time to get it right (no pun intended).