A few posts previously I mentioned a writing project that simply fell in my lap. It was offered to me as a project that I could put my own name on instead of ghost-writing, or I could co-write if I preferred. I'm hesitant to write too much about it on my blog, but I really, really want to. It is a great story, and I feel privileged to have been asked to take it on.
It is a story based on the family of a school-fellow of mine. She is living an unusual -- well, unusual in the grand scheme of things, but not as unusual as it would have been a few decades ago -- life, with some very specifically unique, trying, and sometimes humorous -- as in, "You have to laugh so you don't cry" -- scenarios.
There are two very categorical circumstances in her family, with neither of which I have any real personal experience, so for nine months now I have been doing research and brainstorming ideas. I have gotten to know her and her family very well through her emails. She has been very frank with me, and, honestly, the information she has given me could be overwhelming if I let it be so. But I have parsed her emails, transferring what I want to use into my notes and skeleton of an outline. She has recommended reading material and videos for my research, and I have found a lot of information on my own.
I think I am ready to develop my main characters. You see, she wants it to be a work of fiction, but based on some of her own experiences. So now that I have all this information I have to separate the story I am going to write from her, her husband, their children, and other key characters in her real-life narrative. I can't let myself picture them when I'm writing. I can't let myself think of them with their real names. The characters in "the book" must belong to themselves. And so far I am having trouble getting the right "voice" for it in my head. I know who the
main character is and what's going to happen to her. But she doesn't
have a name yet, and she doesn't have a voice. It will come, I know. I've been here before, and it always comes to me eventually, but it has never mattered so much to me before as it matters to me now. I mean this is a really great idea for a novel!
This school-fellow of mine works with my eldest sister, who knows her family and their circumstances very well. When my friend started talking about how she'd love to write a book about her situation but knew she couldn't and that she'd love to give her idea to someone else to write, my sister recommended me. And I am feeling a lot of trepidation about it because I don't want to fail or make a mess of it. It could be so good if it's done correctly; but what if I'm not the one to do it?
Guess I won't know until I try, right?
I won't rush it. When I do have something coherent, I might ask a few of my Blogger friends to sample a bit and give me some feedback. I will at some point need a sounding board besides my own family. My sister Barbara is my usual sounding board, and she will continue to be so, but I want several readers who have different reading tastes and backgrounds. So don't be surprised if some time -- perhaps after the first of the year, although that might be a bit pessimistic -- I ask you for that favor.