The photo triggered many questions: Who are they and where do they live? How did they spend their days? Did they enjoy vacationing together? What were their career paths? What kept them up at night? Did they have fears? What gave them joy? Were they in love? Did they bicker or get along?
Answers to those questions and others, enabled me to create an intriguing fictional family for my third novel, The Bennett Women. I’m proud to report that I've completed the first draft! It’s a heartfelt story with a satisfying ending, and I have at least six months of challenging work ahead, so don’t expect it to be on Amazon anytime soon.
Completing a novel is an arduous task, and one of the more difficult phases for me is writing the first draft. Discovering an interesting story and developing multifaceted characters is a blast. I delve into human nature and give people traits I covet such as being artistic, clever, courageous, enterprising, free-spirited, good-hearted, gutsy, imaginative and trustworthy, while balancing less desirable ones such as being abrasive, cruel, cynical, devious, flaky, pushy, tactless, and vindictive. How fun is that?
Once I know my plot and characters, infinite white paper taunts me as I ponder how to slant the story, what scenes to write and many other variables. Facing an empty page intimidates me like nothing else. Now that the first draft is written, the real fun begins. I’ll improve the writing, add or delete scenes and clichés, and endlessly tinker with the narrative. After I’ve done my best work, the manuscript goes to an editor and early readers for feedback, resulting in more rewrites. It's a fascinating journey that gives me surprising joy.
As I celebrate this milestone, I have no way to let these three women know how much they inspired my work, so I’m taking a blogging moment to publicly thank them for allowing me to take their picture on that fateful day seven years ago. If anyone knows them, please speak up and I’ll give you a signed copy of The Bennett Women after it’s published. Meanwhile, I wish you a happy and blessed new year as we welcome 2015!