An author is far more than someone who writes out a plot on a piece of paper. Sometimes that is the problem with self-editing and self-publishing. That is why you need someone to tear you apart. An author is a thick-skinned storyteller. Homer didn’t just tell a story – he painted it, infused it with smells, wrapped it in memories, and walked it from village to village singing it forth with a voice trained to heighten every emotion he could illicit from his listeners. That is what too many people don’t understand. An author doesn’t crank out a story – she breathes life into it. There is a section in my book where Lilith shares with Cainan the nightmare she went through after the flood. Her emotions explode and comes in waves as she paints pictures of the horror. As I was writing my original draft, I would speak this out loud into a recorder to my invisible Cainan. I would literally break down in tears as I worked through her history here. I would work on it at night in bed or when I was alone driving. It was emotionally heartbreaking as the word came to me. Each time I worked on it, I made changes as I understood Lilith’s pain more. Ancient storytellers would change the story as they told it until it became the epic that has lasted until our day. The modern author works on it – crafts it – loves it – until it goes to print. Sometimes it is hard to say “It is ready.”
One of the important things I have learned as an author is that you have to create the world around your character. If you can’t see it, your reader can’t see it. Sometimes it is possible to go overboard in the creation process but usually the author errs by not creating enough of a vivid world for the reader. As I began working with my writer’s group, one of the things I learned was that, although I create a lush world, it isn’t always specific enough. So I’ve rewritten and rewritten, trying to create the best work I can deliver – the one that will last several generations.