The beginning of my story writing began the winter of 2006-2007. I only remember that because it was the few months before our family moved to New Zealand. I had been reading a lot of cheesy romance novels and after reading several by an author who desperately needed a good editor, I thought, “I can write at least that well!” So, I set off to try.
When I began typing, I had a vague notion of what I wanted the story to be, but mostly I was on the journey too. This is the first paragraph of that story:
She looked around her without knowing where she was or how she got there. She could remember a feeling of being warm and secure in a luxurious bed with a feather mattress, and then she woke up on a damp, dank forest floor. She rolled on her back and stared hard at the treetops trying to think. Her whole back itched from the dirt that had worked its way into her shirt after sleeping in a forest, for what she assumed, was all night. Flashes of memory flicked through her mind like pictures illuminated by lightening. She could see a woman, plainly dressed in brown hues, with a look of distain on her irregular features. A man popped up next, with gentle eyes that looked as though they held a hidden source of delight. He had dark brown hair that hung in reckless waves to his eyebrows in front and to the nape of his neck in back. She saw a room full of sturdy furniture and decadent hangings. Next came a view of a garden full of flowers from the inside of a large window.
I just looked it over this week, thinking that it had been long enough that perhaps I could read it without worrying. (I’m a professional worrier. If worrying was an olympic sport, I’d definitely be in the running.) What I got instead of worry was a good laugh. Then I got a pen.
I mean, I knew before picking it up again that it would require a lot of re-working, I had just deluded myself as to how much. It. needs. a. complete. gut-job. I’m not sure I’m up to it. I might just tuck it away into the darkest drawer I own and only pull it out to reassure myself that I have gotten better than I was in the beginning. At least, I’d like to think I’ve gotten better.
At any rate, just for some fun, I thought I’d post the marks my pen put into the manuscript and if you feel so inclined, you can tell me if it makes it a better read.
Tulia looked around without knowing where she was or how she got there. She remembered warmth and security, a luxurious bed with a feather mattress. But she awoke on a damp forest floor. She rolled to her back and stared at the treetops trying to think. The pine needles swayed in a slight breeze, backlit by a flawless blue. Her back itched; dirt had worked its way into her shirt. What could she expect after sleeping in a forest, for what she assumed, was all night?
Flashes of memory flicked through her mind like paintings illuminated by lightening. A woman, plainly dressed in brown, with a look of habitual distain on her irregular features. A man next, with gentle eyes that held a hidden source of delight. Dark brown hair hung in reckless waves to his eyebrows in front and to the nape of his neck in back. Then, a room with sturdy furniture and elegant hangings. Last came a view from a large window of a garden full of flowers.
Even as I read through the revised version, I cringe. I love this story. It’s my first full-length novel and I still think it has potential. I just have a hard time thinking that potential will be worth digging through all the muck.
Sigh. Back to grindstone.