This week, my novel found its voice. It has been more than a year of writing pages and pages of these boys, the Wildish boys. I have worked parts of it in and out of sessions at The Pinewood Table with Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose.
Most recently in a short summer session, I read a section that I knew was key but not working. Around the table with Stevan, Joanna, Hope, and Christi, the comments were as I expected - and more. High marks on character details, language and energy, but lots of confusion. Chaos. Anarchy, even.
Stevan wrote in his end notes, "I'm pretty lost."
But the conversation over the table was exactly what I needed. It prodded at the sensitive parts, revealed options, opened up language and potential. I went away last week with a new sense of direction and hope, infused with the energy and insights of my teachers, friends and peers.
Reading. Reading. I can hear it, that "thing" that I want, recognize it in my favorites. Stephen King's Stand By Me, William Kennedy's Ironweed and E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate. I spent some days with Billy, marking "vertical" and "horizontal" in the margins, line by line.
Taking up my story, this novel in progress, I cleared away everything to get to the part that held my heart, the core of the Wildish story. And then I wrote. Or re-wrote, as it were.
Last night, Julia Stoops read the last chapter of her new novel, and we celebrated. A brilliant achievement. A lovely, talented writer. I am honored to have been across the table from Julia as she breathed life into her novel.
Then I read my revision, a 2-page segment, across the Pinewood Table. And I heard it. Voice.
Bigger than character voice. Stevan called it stance. It is the voice of the story.
It changes everything. I am elated.
My deepest thanks to Stevan and Joanna and all those who have sat across the table from me so that I might hear and practice. And write.