This Writer’s Life by Drusilla Campbell
I’m sure you all noticed that there was no blog post from Drusilla Campbell last month. Kelli, the Executive Director of San Diego Writers, Ink, gently reminded me one was due and then seeing the state I was in – bags beneath the eyes, sagging shoulders – she didn’t bring it up again.
This stage of novel writing is called endgame after the final crucial moves in a chess match where reputations are won and lost. In the happy days of my youth when I couldn’t sell a book or land an agent (why are they always compared to fish?), endgame was a sweet time when I believed it was possible to make a book perfect. One more run-through, I would tell my husband, just one more. And he would suggest to me that I might be a bit afraid of what would happen once I sent The Queen of Joy or Sweet Thyme Baby off into the blue of the mail box on the corner.
True, so long as I was tweaking I was spared rejection. Looking back, it’s surprising I ever actually submitted anything.
These days endgame is more like preparing for finals in college. I keep impossible hours. I can’t work at night so I’m up early, often before the sun comes into my office. I type so much my hands hurt. I dream plot points. And after a while, the incidents in the novel begin to merge and run together as if, in the middle of studying for an Elizabethan lit class, I find myself thinking about Kinesiology. That’s when I have to print up the whole manuscript and force myself to read it, no editing. To reassure myself that yes, the story fits together, all the parts are there. I’m not going insane.
So that’s why I didn’t blog last month. I was up to my knees in paper, real and virtual. Half crazy. Still am.
Drusilla Campbell is the author of 16 published novels. Her recent works include the best-selling Bone Lake and Blood Orange and the critically acclaimed Wildwood, Edge of the Sky and most recently, The Good Sister. Critics and fans describe her novels as”piercing”and “intense.” They“surprise and capture” with characters so real you’ll want to “call them up and invite them to coffee.” Before she started school she had crossed the Pacific Ocean three times. In her twenties she lived in Europe and Central America. Today she’s happy to stay at home in San Diego with her husband, the attorney and poet Art Campbell, two rescued dogs, and four horses. An in-demand teacher and lecturer, Drusilla is the creator of NovelCram, a weekend boot camp for fiction writers and has taught and mentored writers in San Diego for more than twenty years, including classes on the Novel and Science Fiction/Fantasy Writing for San Diego Writers, Ink where she is the current Board President. Her next book, Little Girl Gone, will be published in January 2012.