Let your younger self talk to your now self: some novel writing tips

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This past spring, as some of you know, I tucked away a novel I'd been writing for adults.  It was close, but it wasn't right.  It needed time away from me.

Just before I slipped the book into its dark, sequestering place, I wrote a letter to myself outlining all the things that I might do to right the book, to equal the dream I've harbored for two dozen years now of penning a real and actual novel for adults.  Yes.  It's true.  I have harbored the dream of writing a novel for adults for more than two dozen years.  I have managed to do much of everything but.

These past many days, in a fury, I have been reworking the book.  It starts in a different place.  It has a different mood.  The underlying tensions have shifted and so has the war my Becca has with herself.  I have been moving along.  I have been building the story out, making room for surprise, forcing myself to dwell.  And then, on page 72, I got stuck.

Around 4 this afternoon, I took a walk. When I came home, I cleaned the house.  And there it was, this letter I had written to myself—the fix, the cure, the page 73 and on. 

This wisdom, then:

Let your younger self talk to your now self.  Let her laugh up at you, if she wants to.

2 comments:

Erin said...

oh, what a glad thing!

I wrote a letter to myself at age 14 that I'm not supposed to open until I'm 24 - inspired by reading Emily of New Moon.

There's a website - www.futureme.org - where you can send yourself an email and set what date you want to receive it. Last year I wrote myself, and exactly a year later, yesterday, I received it. Reading it was trippy and oddly wonderful and uplifting.

Lilian Nattel said...

I'm so glad you found the answer.

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