Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweeter with Age?

There's something to be said about time and yes, some things grow sweeter with its passage. Perhaps I'm in one of those infamous "AR nostalgia" moods or perhaps it's this editing frenzy thing I'm in, but that little phrase about time being sweater with age keeps repeating in my head.

Where the heckola are you going with this, AR?

Hang in there…I'm getting to it. You have to remember, any case of nostalgia is only lived through and cured at a slow pace.

Quite a while ago, documented in this very blog in fact, I finally tucked away Duty and Devotion from my main writing focus, and in a weird way from my life. It was a huge move. This story concept has been with me since…well, the first time I really attempted a novel length manuscript. Let's just say a long, long...long time ago.


In a way, Nettie and Rinny grew up with me. Their experiences of joy, loss, confusion, and adventure mirrored my own life experiences. (Mine without the awesome space battles and trips around Jupiter of course). And just like real friends, there were times in my life where I gave them tons of attention and energy and times when we drifted apart.

Face it, life does get in the way. There was college, marriage, kids, car payments, work schedules, and commutes to contend with.

However, whenever I meandered back into writing, they were always first and foremost in my thoughts. Even as I dedicated myself to my publication dream and during the period where I wrote my shorts and flashes, Duty and Devotion was my one and only novel length work.

The original story would be unrecognizable today. It goes to show you probably shouldn't try to publish your first manuscript. I would've died with embarrassment today had the original been accepted by some dimwitted publishing house back then.

Thankful, I took a winding road in my writing journey. I needed that exploratory pace to grow as a person and mature into the world around me. Not only that, my vision for Nettie and Rinny's story needed that pace to grow and mature into the world around them. What's there now is what I hope readers will see as two freaked out young woman stepping into an unknown future and trying to survive and come out with some semblance of self.

This concept of "self", for both women, are tested, challenged, threatened, and exposed. Some of what they learn about themselves gives them pride and the drive to hold on to it. Some of what they learn shames them and forces them to change for the better. In both scenarios they learn to become the best they are able to be at any given moment…of course, that is my hope in the execution of the story. The reality of it is up to interpretation by the readers.

Yes, Duty and Devotion has come full circle, back into my top priorities as we prepare it for its release day. This time however, I'm able to review it with an objective eye and without as much of my self worth dependent on its reception by the reading audience. Nettie and Rinny will always be dear to my heart.

Just like a first kiss, is holds a piece of my innocence and unguarded passion. But, also just like a first kiss, I've experienced more memorable moments after and grown to understand more memorable moments await me.

What was your first story? How did you feel about it than compared to today? Tell me a little about its and yours journey.


  1. Well, my first love is still a project in the works - wrote it when I was 10 and grew up with the characters. There's a huge difference between my first draft and the current one, and I've also enforced the plot, added more subplots and fleshed out the characters more.
    But, surprise - the main scenes in the book are the same as when I was ten. I came to realize this about an year ago and I was shocked. Did that make me a really smart 10-year-old or a really retarded 22-year-old?
    I understand what you mean about growing up with your characters. I grew up with mine and they helped me through some tight spots. I can't say I ever left them, no matter what life threw at me. And now, 12 years later, we're still together :)

  2. I love this post. And yeah, I cringe at some of my first ones. I do have one old one that I have a hankering to open again and revisit. May be an awful idea but who knows? LOL!

  3. Stephanie, that is cool! I'm glad you're still working through it and allowing it to mature. It should be a great story when it's ready!

    Jillian, you should relook at it. It may end up being something you just the concept from or it may have enough bones to revise...won't know until you try!

    Thank you both for coming by.

  4. Very interesting reading. I love "Sweeter with Age," sounds like a good title for a book to me :) My first story was about my dog when I was in the third grade, and it was published in a local newspaper. My first college essay about an April flood was also published in the local newspaper. I started writing my first book over a decade ago, and it's on hold at the moment. Like you, I needed to explore, and I still had so much to learn. Writing is a never-ending learning journey where you continually hone your skills and improve by reading other great authors and by writing, of course. Love this post. Blessings for your books. BJ