Why ‘Finish the Book Isn’t Always Good Advice’: The Inspiration behind P.S. I MISS YOU
I didn’t mean to start writing P.S. I Miss You. Usually, I’m pretty disciplined. When I’m writing a book, I get new, shiny ideas all the time, especially when I’m bumbling through the “murky middle.” I put on my sunglasses, though, and avert my eyes from the sparkle. I jot a few sentences down in my idea notebook to look at later, then push my way through to a finished first draft. After all, isn’t that the advice of so many writers? I’ve been listening to writing podcasts and reading interviews for years now, and that’s what they all say: finish the book. You must finish the book!
Reader, I didn’t finish the book. I don’t know what it was about this idea, but something about it grabbed hold of me. I’d just re-read Dear Mr. Henshaw, a book I’d picked up at my library’s book sale for my daughters when they got older. I remembered reading it as a kid and liking it. This time, it meant more, though. It sparked something.
A novel in letters. I wanted—no, I needed—to write a novel in letters. Not just in texts and emails, but in letters. But why would someone in this day and age be writing letters? What would the barrier be? No computer? No internet connection? And who would be writing the letters?
My mind spun, and within days, I had abandoned that other project. I started a story about a twelve-year-old girl named Evie, who missed her older sister. I started a story about sisters who had been raised in a heavily Catholic household and who were both wrestling with their beliefs. I started writing at a time when I myself was questioning many of my beliefs.
I wrote about an older sister who got pregnant and who was looked down on because of her ungodly action. I wrote about a younger sister who was afraid that her crush on a girl would invoke the same reaction.
I thought about my childhood in a heavily Catholic town. I thought about my daughters and what their bond might one day be like. I thought about my best friend, who came out in college, and the lack of recognition of anyone on the LGBTQ spectrum in my community when I was growing up.
My first draft of P.S. I Miss You took two weeks to write. I wrote and I wrote until that other project was left in the dust. Maybe someday I’ll look at that pile of dust and figure out how I can turn it into sparkles.
But for now, I know that tried-and-true bits of writing advice don’t always apply. If you feel a pull toward an idea, you are allowed to follow it.
You never know what will happen. It could be enchanting. It could be epic.
*~~About the Author~~*
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to check out another enchantingly epic #EE18ers post! 😉