Friday, October 13, 2017

My Novel, "Ribbons", and How It Came To Be

For those of you who follow my husband, R.J., on his Facebook vlog each Friday, we both really appreciate your interest in his artwork and his stories about Walt Disney World. For the last couple of weeks, he has been mentioning my blog to you all because he knows I'm trying to build up a following of my own here. So if he is the reason you are reading this post, I thank you. And please leave a comment, so I can gauge where my new readers are hearing about me.

Writing has been an important part of my life since I was quite young. I wrote my first short story at the age of nine, was the drama columnist of my high school paper. Personality profiles and travel articles for various magazines followed, after I was married, and I even penned a few screenplays (none of which ever made it to the screen).

My published novel, "Ribbons" began as an idea over thirty years ago,while staying at a bed and breakfast one weekend, with R.J. I wrote a couple of chapters longhand, sitting on the porch of the Victorian getaway, and put them away when I got home.

Whenever I had some free time - not often when you're raising a family and working full-time - I would sit at my typewriter (yes, it was that long ago - no computer in our house then) and add to what I'd already written. Once I had a finished draft, I actually played with the idea of changing it to a screenplay. Wrote it, but didn't like it.

After quite a few years, and several drafts, I put the novel away because it just never had the spark, or the finish, that I knew it needed. It wasn't until we moved from Florida to Virginia, and were living in an historic town that I got the itch to begin again, with that town as the setting.

That's when I became excited about this work again. The location and the people there inspired me, and "Ribbons" was finally becoming something I could send to potential agents and publishers. I got some positive feedback, but no offers. (It really is true that there are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. A famous writer said that.)

Finally, a few years ago, now living in the Chicago suburbs, I joined a writers group, made up mostly of male writers, and revised, rewrote and enlarged on "Ribbons", with their comments, caring and critical help. The best compliment I got from one of the men in the group was when he said that, though he wasn't normally a reader of this type of novel, he was so invested in the characters, he really wanted to find out what happened to them.

There it was! The characters were the stars; the plot the background for them. That was what I'd been striving for all along, and his remark let me know I'd achieved my goal at last, and I am so proud of this work.

I always wanted to appeal to both women and men with this novel. Getting the nod to publish it by Theme Park Press was the final accolade for me. So, whether you are a reader of novels, or you're not, please give "Ribbons" a try - and let me know what you think.

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