A Feast of Notebooks

I’m currently editing two manuscripts for a publisher (one is a suspense novel, the other YA romance). After sending back the second round of edits on one manuscript in the wee hours of morning, I gave myself a mental break Wednesday: I sorted old writing notebooks.

That may not seem like a break, but for someone still finding her way with a neglected, unfinished manuscript, going through old notes is like a refresher course in creative writing. There are dialogue scenes that are pithy and pointed; action scenes that I wish continued past a few paragraphs; plot notes about threads I’d forgotten. Reading this material as if it were the work of a stranger, I became so absorbed that I didn’t even hear the call for supper.

It’s daunting, to tell the truth. There’s so much there, how can I ever hope to organize it into anything usable? Some of the material is moot now — I’ve already incorporated it into the manuscript, or the story took so different a turn that those notes no longer apply — but much of it is exciting, reminding me why I wrote the first book, and why this book must be written.

I found epic poems and humble prayers, a couple old maps penciled on blue graph paper, a scene from the point of view of an invisible boy.

Those notebooks are like the rich aromas of a home-cooked meal, tantalizing my senses until I can scarce wait to sit down to the feast.

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