Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Sure Can Pick 'Em



Do you remember the Disney film with Kurt Russell where a chimp watches television shows and picks the top show of the week? I don't remember the title, but I do remember watching the movie as a teenager.  I also remember reading the newly published children's book, Jumanji to my kids when they were toddlers, saying, "This would make a great movie!" Later, I read Jurassic Park to my kids who were nine and seven at the time, thinking that a movie had to be made of that amazing book. When my daughter went to college and I was on my way back to Belgium via Puerto Rico to visit my cousin, I was reading, The Da Vinci Code. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down and really hoped to see it on the screen. Voila. My picker was right.

Another book I've always thought would be AMAZING on the silver screen is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I would pay good money to see it. Maybe a movie studio has already bought the movie rights for the book and if not, why not? The book would make a fabulous movie in my humble. The other book is mine.

I smile now because as a new writer, the first draft of my historical novel, A Decent Woman was a screenplay of sorts. I was learning the ropes (still am) and very passionate about my book (still am). I just had to get the words down as quickly as I could and because I didn't know any better, I made lots of mistakes. I often said that the characters whispered in my ear as I wrote. I still have the first draft of my novel and I kind of cringe when I read the first chapter. The characters are interesting, but not fleshed out and the dialogue is a he said, she said type of ping pong match! There is more intrigue now with meatier chapters, fleshier characters, meaningful dialogue, flashbacks, and back story. As I've written draft after draft, I've learned a lot and I'm still learning. The more I read, the more I learn about the craft of writing.

When I wrote that first draft, I could see my characters as clearly as if they were standing in front of me. I saw the hurricane just off the coast, I smelled the salty ocean, heard babies cry, and felt the spray off the waves on my face as Ana stood thinking back to her childhood in Cuba. I cried with my heroines, prayed with them and laughed at what came out of their mouths. I heard them speak, whisper and I fell in love when they did. I rooted for my characters when they were in dire straits and although I dreamed of happy endings for them all, I complicated my character's lives and then tied up loose ends only to have another challenge present itself.

From the beginning draft of my novel to the draft I now hold in my hands, I've lived and breathed with my characters. As I patiently wait on the verdict of the exclusive read the agent asked me for - I am hopeful. I still see this book as a movie. I'd watch it :)

Patience, patience, and more patience on this blustery day in March.

Peace and love,
Ellie



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