I am 61 pages into my new book, and my prose is coming along nicely, but I’ll tell you what, writing fiction is a whole different ball of nouns and pronouns for me.
I’ve been a journalist since 1985 – or really, since the late 1970s, when I started writing feature stories and news pieces about goings-on for my high school paper. I’m accustomed to having all the facts for a story at hand, having drawn them out via interviews, background reviews and other supplementary research.
Boy, it’s a lot harder when you have to imagine the details, imagine the plot, imagine the ending.
My second book, with a working title of Seeking the Sun, is a quirky love story. The protagonist is a woman who has been divorced and widowed, and yes, there’s some overlap there, but there’s a lot of imagined details woven in – so much so that it has all become the jumble known as fiction.
Roxanne, or Roxie, as she’s called, is an artist who got her start in the paste-up department of the Laconia Citizen in Laconia, N.H.
That’s as much as I’ll tell you now about Roxie, but she’s pretty cool. I’m still learning about her. She’s still presenting herself and her talents – not to mention her inspirations and desires – to me, one little bit at a time.
What’s also different about this second book is that it is so much harder to find the time to write. When I wrote Divine Renovations, I had been laid off from my full-time job, and I could write morning, noon and night. And often, I did.
Now, I have 30 minutes here and 45 minutes there. I squeeze in the time at 5:30 in the morning, between completing assignments for clients and often, at the very end of the day, I’ll write sections of the book while lying in my bed, using the keyboard on my cell phone.
An idea, or a conversation, will come to me, and I’ll whip my phone off the charger, open a new email and start typing away. The next day, I cut and paste the text from the email into the manuscript and poof, a chapter grows longer.
My first manuscript was about 100 pages, so you could say that with 61 pages, I’m almost done. But I know I have a long way to go; I know a lot of the material I have put down will get edited out. I just don’t know what material yet.
Also different about this second book is that it has a tendency to be funny. Roxie is a bit of a kook, as is the guy she is falling for. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One, so you can see what I mean:
I believe in the power of good old-fashioned hormones. Well, now I do, ever since I watched what happened to the men in my life when my hormones took over my body, without my knowledge or consent. It happened about a year and a half after my second husband died of cancer.
Sure, I knew I had begun to think about the future instead of wallowing in the present, and, yes, I was aware that I was thinking about sex too. Maybe that’s what did it. That’s what got the hormones all fired up. The next thing I knew, guys were hitting on me left and right. They knew I was ready to date before I did.
My daughter’s boyfriend kissed me on my front walk as my daughter was packing up her car to leave for school, and then he acted like all her boyfriends have probably have kissed me that way. The guy who sells hamburgers at the roadside stand asked me if I was single after I placed my order for a chicken Caesar wrap instead of asking if I also wanted chips, and a man at a business networking event, upon being handed my business card pronouncing that I am “Roxanne Rogers,” asked me, “So, is ‘Rogers’ your married name?”