First, a big "Thank You!" to everyone who has commented, congratulated, and supported me me this week and in the past, whether online or in person. It’s a very strange thought that people I know might read Lucinda. Geoff Cooper once described writers as "egomaniacs with inferiority complexes." I’m don’t know how accurate that is for all writers, but I’ve certainly had those moments.
You can only have one first and Lucinda at the Window was mine. It was the first novel I wrote, and on the 20th of September, it will be the first to reach publication. All this week, I plan to present a process log detailing the writing of Lucinda at the Window, its path to publication, and how my first has influenced me as a writer.
The semi-official 1st chapter is available for download (PDF).
The novel is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com
Some people are good at seeing a clear picture of the future, whether it is an accurate vision or not. I am not one of those people, and I try not to worry about it. I don’t know how many copies Lucinda will sell or how it will be received by those who read it. Most of that is out of my control now. I’ve written the book; it’s a book I’d enjoy reading. To some degree, that’s the main thing a writer does.
What does interest me is how past decisions and experiences shape the present. When I signed the contract with Stone Garden I decided that, at very least, it would be an experience. In the process of editing the novel and writing this log, I’ve come to realize the importance of my collaboration with Eric. Lucinda at the Window is the viable novel we collaborated on the least.* When left to my own devices I meander my way through a story and get lost in its dark, dead-end alleys. Minnette’s primary criticism of Lucinda in the editing process was that I include too much detail, that my sentences often contain unnecessary words. Being succinct is important. This was a lesson I had half-learned in the writing of my fourth novel Pas de Chat. I wrote Pas de Chat over the summer of 2004. Eric and I discussed what was going on in the novel nearly every day. The writing is tight; worlds ahead of Lucinda.
I say this lesson was half-learned because, despite the obvious advantages of having someone "in-house" to keep me on the right track in terms of plot and to prevent me from skipping down descriptive primrose paths, I resist. Over the course of our relationship, the most knock-down drag-out fights between Eric and I have been over writing. I take the position of the lone writer "artiste" against his practical, dispassionate objectivity. It is a false view and it leads to useless arguments. Even for the writer that isn’t in an active collaboration, writing is not a solitary process in the end. And despite Eric’s overview perspective, he is truly concerned in making our writing better…and not just annoying me. Working with an editor has given me a better perspective on this. Changing behavior based on lessons "learned" is no one’s strong point, but maybe I’ve finally had this one drilled into my head.
Obviously, I’m learning about the promotion aspect of having a product with my name on it. If I’m lucky, I’ll have to learn to deal with criticisms and reviews and problems of publication that I can not fathom. Successful or not, this is the start of a new aspect of my career that will have to be managed. If you’ll pardon the paradox, I look forward to seeing what lessons I’ll have learned from this time in my life.
For this last day of Lucinda Week, I ‘d like to share a piece of art my sister Tessa drew many years ago to accompany Lucinda at the Window‘s first chapter. I wish I could link to some of her more current art because the canvases and guitar customizations I saw over the summer were really impressive.
*Eric had even less day-to-day involvement with novels #2 & #3, the sprawling, non-viable fantasy novels.