"JUST A GIRL"
A coming-of-age novel about innocence, isolation, love, heartbreak, and discernment.
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My first novel, written in 16 months while traveling the world, was one of the most difficult and gratifying challenges I have ever experienced. I'm eager to do it again!
I fell in love with my characters. They became my friends and I was eager to see what they would do, everyday. Of course, that also meant, since I was writing from my emotions, when they suffered, I suffered with them. When they cried, I cried. When they experienced loss, I felt that same loss.
I swear, my heart didn't know to separate real experiences from my imagination. It felt it all! The good, the bad, and the ugly!
I often stayed in one location to concentrate more fully on certain more difficult chapters. And, when I was in Warsaw for a month, I was writing the most heart-rendering chapters at the point Paula, the protagonist, finds herself in an excruciatingly painful marriage. I only stopped writing to buy potatoes and and carrots at a nearby fresh market. No touring, no photos...only writing. I lost 10 pounds in 4 weeks before I knew it!
Alan Rinzler of Forbes Magazine says "Fictional characters may take on a life of their own, surprising their creators with the twists and turns the story takes. But the source of the character's identity and the ultimate guide to where they came from and where they are going remains only the author. That’s why authors enter into an intimate relationship, a kind of lopsided romance with their characters, no matter how virtuous or flawed those characters may turn out to be." ("Falling in Love with Your Characters," Forbes, A. Rinzler, June 7, 2010.)
I can see how authors can lose a sense of reality! Imagine what Stephen King must go through. Of course, perhaps those professional writers have learned how to stay sane. I'm curious about that as I begin to develop the plot for my next novel.
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