WHAT MADE ME START WRITING A NOVEL
Near the end of 2010, I heard a socialite friend say, "When I write my book ..."
I pondered that concept and let it sit in my consciousness. I didn't relate that back to myself. My thought was more on the lines of: here is someone I never knew wanted to write and how would she even start and will she get her work published.
A few weeks later, the same friend shared an idea for a book. The story is completely chick-lit, a genre I didn't take seriously. I had a misconception of authors - that real authors write serious, studied, literary fiction.
In December I reread Jane Eyre. I reacted to the shallowness and stupidity of the character, St. John, who wouldn't marry the person he really loved because she was too pretty for the life of a missionary. I thought there should be a book where a character chooses the right thing and goes after it, no matter the public's reaction.
Here is a thorough character analysis of St. John on shmoop and the weird pronunciation of his name.
In February 2011, a computer-programmer friend asked me over lunch of spicy Indian food, "If you wrote a book, it'd be a romance, wouldn't it?"
Her tone held elements of disdain, especially on the word "romance." We hadn't been discussing books. The question materialized from no obvious source. I blinked at her, the same way I react to people who look down on me for liking pink. Getting my defenses in order, I replied, "Yes. Of course there would be romance."
We didn't discuss any more of that topic - weird, random thing to happen.
Two weeks later, still angry about St. John, the other three scenarios muddled together. The idea that someone else thought I could write a complete book, that I could finish such a work, dawned on me. Then I started asking myself the "if" questions. If I were to come up with a story, who is the main character who would be better than St. John? What would she fight for? Who would be her love?
At that moment, I heard a song I had loved for a decade.
The pieces came together and gave me fire. I wrote the first book in two months. 150,000 words. The last word was a huge hurrah moment!
Let's go back to Jane Eyre for a moment. The Timothy Dalton version made by the BBC in 1983 is the most faithful version of Jane Eyre. I don't always have time to watch the eleven, twenty-minute episodes, so I'll share a peek that refreshes the whole story in my mind. Timothy Dalton plays the best Rochester! That expression!
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