This past spring, when I was planting herbs and Impatiens, I had a few puny plants left in the flats. They looked wilted and leggy. They had no blooms. Worthless, I thought, but I hated wasting them. Javier had once carved out a nice Asian inspired nook in our yard, but grad school, mosquitoes, and the intricacies of Bonsai did him in at last. So, I grabbed one of his abandoned planters and stuck the coleus and Impatiens inside. Turns out shade and a quiet spot were just what they needed.
It’s too hot to garden in the late summer, but it’s the perfect time to return to edits on my next YA novel. I’m at the stage where a full manuscript exists. Not the finished manuscript –just the starting one where Kate and I start digging deep. The job now is to flesh out what’s working and to axe without mercy what’s not.
It’s a funny thing how the mind works when it’s trying to tell the truth via fiction. It’s never simple to let characters reveal what’s really bothering them. What always amazes me is how small things, tiny seedlings bloom in a manuscript, sometimes without my notice or help. Obvious parts of a character that eluded me earlier suddenly come into focus. And old scenes that I deleted in earlier drafts find a new life and purpose in another section of the book. These are precious moments to me when I realize that a writer can have faith even in failed efforts. With time and a little space, the most unexpected things might bloom.
I’m off to the Amtrak station so I can get to DC. This means two hours of quiet and solitude to work on things! Who knows what will peek through the ground? Hope to see you at the Festival!
Meg’s next appearances:
National Book Festival, Washington DC, Saturday, August 30, 2014
Bookmarks Festival, Winston-Salem, NC, Sept 5 -6, 2014