Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Almost Out of the Bag

by Julia Buckley

I’ve been working on a new mystery for months. And months. First it was just a little something I was trying out. I’d go back to it now and then, but I wasn’t very enthused. I brought it to my writing group, which is usually pretty critical, and I expected them to blast it out of the water.

Except they didn’t. They liked it, and they wanted more. Nothing feeds enthusiasm like a compliment. I went back to it and, through their eyes, realized that this wasn’t that bad a beginning. So I continued. I brought it back to the group the next month. Ten thousand words had turned to twenty thousand. They liked it even more. And suddenly, my pace increased. By the time summer vacation rolled around I had thirty thousand words and lots of ideas.

Today I wrote for hours; my sons would occasionally leave their own pursuits to come and stand behind me, saying not “When will it be finished, Mom?” but “When will you be off the computer?”

“I don’t know,” I muttered, waving them away. They went, grumbling. I wrote until I had reached the climax—now all that’s left to create is the denouement, and then the draft will be complete.

So hurrah! Right? Except as you all know, I have a big long journey ahead. I have to revise. I have to get a manuscript that I like and then send that to my agent, and SHE has to like it. Otherwise it sort of dies right there. She might like it but want more revisions. Or, in my dream scenario, she’ll say “This is great. Let’s send it out.” And then two giant publishers get into a huge bidding war over my book, which they are already envisioning as a movie.

Oh—sorry. Did I say all that out loud?

But here is the reality I understand: finishing a book is a beginning, not an ending. And a part of me will really miss that creative process that escalated the tension for both me and my characters, who are now my friends. I love them and I wish them well—preferably a long life in a series of books that actually see publication.

But as a mystery lover I know this best of all: what will make it is a mystery, and I’m about to take my manuscript into a world of shadows.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Well said, Julia! I wish you great success with this new manuscript. May your agent love it, send it out, and start a bidding war! And, yes, you can say that out loud.

Jess Lourey said...

Whee, Julia! You've done it AGAIN! You're right that finishing a manuscript is a beginning, and one that most people don't get to. Way to do it.

Mark Combes said...


You have to find the joy in writing for you first. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, then why even start the process - no matter what others might think.

Congrats on finishing. It's a step along the long road. Enjoy the journey every step of the way.

Julia Buckley said...

Well, thanks, guys. It is a nice feeling, I must say. Especially because I like the finished product.

It's great to get encouragement from the three of you, whom I consider to be highly successful!

CandaceCalvert said...

Julia, I'm betting on the DREAM come true. You deserve it. It can happen. I'm rooting for you!

Congratulations on your shiny new beginning. I believe in those with all my heart. :-)


Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Candy! And congratulations on the imminent arrival of your first book with a new publisher!

Felicia Donovan said...

Julia, you've so eloquently captured the intimate relationship we develop with our plots, characters and the entire writing process.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mark's words, "You have to find the joy in writing for yourself first..." Well said...

Nina Wright said...

Congrats on your newest adventure, Julia! I also applaud you for skillfully balancing family and daytime career with your writing.