Every story I write presents a brand new journey with unexpected challenges. Daughter of Aithne is no exception. The first 12 months of writing this novel were like a dream. Ideas flowed without ceasing; I felt like I had a clearer vision than ever of who everyone was and where everything was going.
Then I hit a wall, or perhaps more accurately, a very murky bog. What began as a routine revision of the first half of the novel culminated in a sense of stagnation. It did not help that my editor had a stroke early this year, greatly complicating the release of High Maga. And then, I decided to accept the co-coordinator position for OTS’s NAPIRE Program in Costa Rica. A great decision, but…there went my summer. Many many unforgettable and invaluable experiences meant zip on the writing.
Since my return to KC in August, I’ve been gradually settling back into routine, though not without hiccups. I came home to a broken air conditioner and a garden that had been overtaken by wilderness. (She likes jungle? I could hear the plants whispering. We’ll show her JUNGLE!) Most of all, I jumped into a fall semester virtually unprepared, as all the time I would have normally dedicated to course prep had been eaten up by my summer job.
It’s always hard to tell how a break from the writing routine will affect my work. Sometimes after a period away, I come back fresher than ever. Other times, I lose touch with the thread of the story, and capturing that thread again can be quite difficult. Over the past ten months, this is what I have felt: a loss of that thread. On the few occasions I’ve had a chance to write, it’s been like pulling teeth.
Yesterday, once again, my writing routine was blasted out of the water. Thursday afternoon is my sacred writing time this semester, but my parents needed to be taken to the airport, and I very much wanted to accompany them. By the time I returned home, I had one hour left before evening set in and my stomach demanded dinner. (And believe me, my stomach can NOT be ignored!)
Should I try to write something? I thought.
Yes. Why not?
So I sat down to tackle the third major reworking of a chapter that has caused me much grief, each reiteration a complete departure from the last. The scenes and circumstances had been altered multiple times, though I kept coming back to the same set of characters. I knew they had something to say in the presence of each other, I just wasn’t sure what it was or how best to say it. Mulling over the problem this week, I’d decided to try one more variation: a conversation between Eolyn and one of her students, Mariel.
And then it happened: Magic.
Eolyn came alive at my fingertips in a way I had not felt for a very long time. Mariel said what had been so difficult for her to say in all the other drafts. I could hear their voices again, and in hearing their voices, I found mine.
Congratulations to the winners of the Goodreads Giveaway for High Maga! I don’t think I’m allowed to release their names, so I’ll just say, you know who you are! Your books go in the mail today. Enjoy the adventure.