Monday, August 10, 2015

Waiting for “Mr. Write”

by Sophie Perinot

I am in a rare and sometimes frightening place. Those of you who’ve finished more than one book know it. I am awaiting the publication of a novel (4 months), and yesterday I handed a completed work-in-progress over to my trusted critique partners in anticipation of that manuscript’s “date” with my agent later this month.

This is that moment when the grain has been harvested, but you are not quite ready to thresh.

It should be a time of thanksgiving for a good harvest—for a manuscript I am extremely proud of. And it is. But it is something else too. For this writer at least, it is a period of mourning and nervous energy.

I have lost the closest companions (save my human family) of these last months. The characters who interrupted and informed my days and peppered my dreams are gone. Even when I turn back to editing, I will be merely arranging flowers on their graves. They will speak to me no more. This is grief profoundly real and unimaginable to those who do not write. I miss my protagonist at odd moments. I tear up driving my car. I have been widowed, and I suspect the only non-writer person who understands that is my flesh and blood husband (who, god bless him, is not the jealous type).

Yet, because I’ve done this before, my sadness is underpinned with anticipation. I know, in a way that newbie writers do not, that a brain that wrote once will do so again (just like those widowed from happy marriages are the most likely to marry again)

So I am waiting, waiting for Mr. Write.

I can’t force it. I have manila files (don’t we all) of research, neatly gathered by time period and story idea. But I am not looking at them. I have helpful friends who want to introduce me to characters—most recently my middle-child who, traveling in Europe, skyped me absolutely giddy with an intriguing story from Saxony.  But even if Mr. Saxony is ultimately my next beau, it is just too soon. Go on a first date with him now and he will become my rebound. That would be a waste.

I piddle around. I do the things that everyday life requires. I organize the notes from my wip into a
tidy folder. When I think no one is looking, I open up my “inspiration” folder and gaze lovingly at the characters who have gone. I listen to “our songs” (yes, the characters from my wip demanded a playlist). But one corner of my brain is on alert. I am waiting to glimpse something special out of the corner of my mind’s eye. I am waiting to hear a voice behind me in the produce section of the grocery store—a voice that says, “excuse me, are you Sophie? I have a story to tell you.”

Ah, there you are Mr. Write! 

Sophie Perinot’s next novel, Médicis Daughter--set at the intrigue-riven, 16th century French Valois Court--will be out in December of 2015. She could tell you about her wip but then she'd have to kill
you. To find out about Sophie's previous literary endeavors, visit her website, or her FB page.  You can also  follow her on Twitter as @Lit_gal 


JC Rosen said...

Some great insight here, Sophie. I try to at least write story prompts, maybe a flash here and there. It's easy to give into the lure of a rebound project, though. Having done it a couple of times, I'll remember your title in future.

Take care,

Sophie Perinot said...

I have a little trifle I started on vacation JC, and I am allowing myself to play with that. But it is neither my usual fare nor my usual genre--so I am being honest with myself and calling it a "palate cleanser"

Deborah Hawkins said...

I never thought of it that way. I like that quote about us writing again.

Candy Little said...

LOL!! Love this and it's so true. Great article!!