I haven’t actually worked on my book in months. I rewrote the proposal last September for a consult with an editor. That’s the closest I’ve come to delving in since those knee-jerk edits right after the bonfire.
I’ve needed that time; to digest, to recover. After all, the whole point of setting fire to the thing was to reclaim my life.
But there is also a problem: I haven’t figured out what the story is, exactly. That’s the tricky thing about writing about real life; there are always many stories within a story, and separating compelling drama from extraneous details is difficult (at least for me).
The ending is a particular problem. It’s got to be uplifting, because that’s what sells, but since the whole book is about tragedy and death and whatnot, it’s got to be real, too.
Traditional happy endings—the kind with lots of taffeta and a soaring score—are for the plastic princesses scattered all over Chicken Noodle’s bedroom floor. The rest of us have to claim the meaningful bits from every day and fashion them into our own fiercely-guarded raison d’être.
That’s the ending I want. And I have to figure it out. I feel I should know this before I begin again (she says sarcastically).