It began as an assignment for my granddaughter when she was in third grade. She is now a seventh grader.
Writing a book is a process.
She was supposed to write 100 words and grace her pages with artwork. From her hand-written pages, I typed. Then she drew.
A little girl collected buttons and had a favorite that she had misplaced. She searched and searched, and searched some more–and found it! That was her story.
She put her finished work in a binder decorated with buttons. She earned a very good grade.
And I said, “I think you have something here. Let’s keep going.”
So we worked to understand the girl. Why was the button important? What did the girl look like? What did she like? Who was her family? Who were her friends?
We switched from third person (she) to first person (I). We developed a reason the button was important. We added family, friends, dialogue, description, repeating symbolism, and motives.
I thought we had a picture book, so I shared it with an author/friend. She said, “It’s not a picture book. It’s a chapter book. Keep working.”
So we did.
Writing a book is a process.
We shifted from the perspective of the little girl to the viewpoint of one of the previously peripheral characters–a boy–the new kid in town.
We drew in a team of helpers–her brother and some of their cousins. There were times that some of us met in a very professional manner discussing the story and deciding how to enhance it.
There were times we talked about it less formally, in the car or at a family gathering.
Sometimes, I wrote alone. One day, I typed as a grandson and I developed a chapter.
Now, we have more than 12,000 words. And so begins the process of cutting fat that may weigh it down and slow its journey to print and perhaps adding flesh and blood where the text is dry bone.
And then there will be the process of asking others to look at it. Will it float and fly? Or will our labors continue?
William Faulkner said writing is “agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before.”
We’ve made a piece of work that did not exist before. Something from our human spirits. And in that process, we’ve explored characters and human character and tightened the bonds between us.
Writing a book is a wonderful process.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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