Confession number one: I missed two weeks of Flamin’ Friday posts. In case you didn’t notice. I kept putting off writing my posts, until Saturday arrived adn I realized I hadn’t written anything. I decided to let these dates slip past rather than scramble to put something together.
Confession number two: I did not finish NaNoWriMo this year. I am a complete and utter failure. The funny thing is, the reason I feel like a failure is not becuase I decided to give up on my novel for November, but because after I gave up on it I still couldn’t find time to write the 5k words I have left on Into the Flames. I mean, come on, Jessie! You’ve already written this book once! You can’t take a few hours out of your busy schedule to edit the thing and have it done with?
The answer is apparently no, I cannot. I’m not complaining, but I would like you to know that caring for an infant is time consuming. That coupled with the projects that Aaron has given me for the Consortium and my own need to read a book “for pleasure” has really derailed my productivity levels.
Okay, so, enough griping. This is Friday, so I guess I should give you something related to Into the Flames.
I’ve been working on this series since I was about fifteen, which was…wow…a long time ago. Scout popped into my head as a fully formed, headstrong tomboy who crossed her eyes for hours on end just to see if they would stick that way. Her brother looked like a Disney-channel star, with a snowboard in one hand and a perfect big brother attitude. Hawkins quickly followed as the quirky but cute underdog. I could see him so clearly in my mind, peering at Scout from behind his shaggy hair and wondering what it was that made her so different from the rest of the crowd. I probably hadn’t penned more than fifty pages (which with my big sloppy handwriting in a wide-ruled notebook isn’t really that much) before I knew that Rahab and Bracken would also play a large role in Scout and Hawkins’s lives.
What’s amazing about all this is that I’m finally getting this book published. After eight years of honing these characters and hashing out plot details with Mara something’s finally coming out of it. The most amazing part of all, though, is how much I still enjoy writing about it. I still enjoy editing it. I’ve been through about four rounds of Into the Flames alone, and I still get excited when I read it. That’s pretty weird. And cool.
I’ve come up with countless hundreds of characters who have died either fourteen pages in or sometimes even before they hit the page. I’ll write something down in excitement only to realize a week (or a day) later that it was stupid. I’ve worked and worked through things in my head, tried to find the proper story to tell for certain characters, only to admit that it can’t be done. I have even a few dozen characters, still on pages in my notebooks in the study, waiting paitiently for the day I will pull them out again and finish crafting them. But most of those poor guys will never be realized. So the fact that four of my characters managed to actually make it through the slush pile of my brain is a big deal. I guess that makes Scout, Hawkins, Rahab, and Bracken pretty special. I have talked about them, written about them, and even erased them and written them back again with finer lines, and I love them more now than I did when I first thought of their names. So when they finally get into your hands, guys, please treat them right. Let them sit down and put their feet up for a while. They’ve really been through the wringer. But man, do they have stamina.