The Tale of Lillian Foster

She’s young. She’s foolish. She screws her life up completely. She’s my heroine.

I had a flash of brilliance about three weeks ago. A sentence came to mind and I thought: What a perfect first sentence for a novel. I was driving around town running various errands and hauling my children along in an attempt to stave off the summer doldrums, when the streak of creativity hit me. I pondered it for a few moments as I sat in traffic, and, by the time I returned home, I was so excited I could hardly wait to sit down at my computer and begin the tale.

I wrote the entire story from start to finish in one sitting. I was thrilled! I had never done such a thing in my life. It was far from perfect but I had the story. I sent it off to my editor, Rita, and awaited her opinion. Then I actually read the thing. It was almost, but not quite, pure drivel.

Rita is and always will be my first line editor because she is so particular about suspending her disbelief. I like that in an editor. I decided as I read through the story from start to finish that, through her eyes, this story was ridiculous and totally unbelievable. So before I got her opinion, I asked her to throw it away. I had to start afresh.

Now, three plus weeks and twelve chapters later, I feel I finally have the beginnings of my first novel. It will never solve world hunger or bring about peace to trouble lands. It will never cause young boys to pick up books and begin reading in droves (a la JK Rowling). But it just might touch someone’s heart. And if I can accomplish that with this story, then I will have finally achieved what I have dreamed of doing my entire life: I will have become a writer.

We shall see, however, because Rita has yet to peruse this new, non-drivel version. It is quite outside her realm of normal reading. I am Romance all the way (Rosamunde Pilcher and Julia Quinn are my role models). She is Mystery/Crime (Dennis Lehane floats her boat, although Sue Grafton does not). But I still value her opinion. I crave it, in fact, for she forces me to be a better writer, which is what I need. I think everyone needs a person who will stay by their side (figuratively) and help them become a better person. In the realm of writing, Rita is my person-better-er.

I am close to learning how Lillian Foster’s tale will end. I am anxious to read the book from start to finish. I am also quite nervous to hear my editor’s take on the story. What a tale that might be!

I promise to report back here once I have a) finished the book; and b) gotten Rita’s comments.

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Divorced. Mom. Friend. Writer. That's who I am.
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