I find myself tonight with a sense of wakeful excitement with a spinning head, racing heart, and sweating palms…sensations similar to what one must feel when one peers over the edge of a giant precipice. What has inspired such raw, nervous emotion you ask? I am finally within sight of publishing the first in the series of the “Chronicles of Mister Marmee” novels. The cover art is complete; the final edit is almost wrapped up; and the final formatting is the only other thing standing between me and my first published book.
I have spent the last few years toiling (endlessly it seemed at times) to complete my very first novel. In the beginning, I honestly never thought I would make it this far. When I first started on this road, I was pretty certain when I reached 10 pages worth of material that I was very near the conclusion of my whimsical tale. At that time, I wasn’t certain what sort of audience this pamphlet would have, but here I am many years later and many, many more pages beyond the pamphlet stage with something considerably more substantial than what I thought possible at its infancy.
It all started with an idea – a vision if you will – of an unconventional character set in one of my favorite time periods. The Victorian Era. I could see this character clearly in my mind’s eye as if I was watching a movie about him. I could hear his voice speaking in a very distinctive, cultured British accent. His mannerisms and modes of expressions seemed as familiar to my head and my heart as if they were my own, but I did not know his full story. Not really. Not yet. One thing I knew for certain however from the moment he first stepped into the recesses of my brain; my new character, Mister Tittleewinks Marmalade, or Mister Marmee as he is called by his friends and colleagues, was to become a very close and intimate friend of mine.
Having never written a novel before, I did not know what to expect of myself or of the process itself. I have always been an avid reader so I knew what I wanted to offer to my readers…..what I hoped they would walk away with at the end of my tale. What I didn’t want to do was follow someone else’s formula on how to write. For me, outlines and diagrams make it harder to write and staunch the creative flow for me. That’s not to say I do it better. It’s just my way. And no. I don’t write a stream of consciousness either. I have my own way of doing things with its own quasi organization, and yes I do break a lot of rules, and I like it. Rules are meant to be broken. That’s why it’s called creative writing. Jane Austin, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Mark Twain made up their own rules. They didn’t have a lot of rule books telling them how to do things. They just wrote. If it was good enough for them, I think I can make a few rules up (or at least break a few) as I go along.
Mister Marmee and I have come a long way together. I actually finished the book over a year ago, but I took some really sound advice from someone. I didn’t quit my day job. It’s not that I don’t believe in my writing; it’s just I believe that the bill collectors will come after you if you don’t pay them immediately so the time to work on the book is not always there. So my labor of love has at times been a “whittle” of love……me whittling away at the many tasks it takes to get a book ready for publication. I almost think at times the getting ready part is harder than the writing part. It certainly takes a lot of discipline and dedication to get it done. Looks like Mister Marmee will finally get to meet the world after all.