Monday, May 19, 2008


There's a scene in the movie of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy reaches a fork in the yellow brick road. She wonders what to do next and the scarecrow says something like, "You can go that way or that way."

The writing journey can take writers to many forks along the road. Usually I just have to choose a direction and proceed. It's amazing how often I receive a confirmation that reassures me I'm going the right way. It's happened with every book.

During the writing of Keeper of the Night, I realized early on that Isabel would forget what her deceased mother looked like. Even though her mother had died less than a year before, she had to look at photos to remember her image. Where that came from, I have no idea. But soon after I included that in the story, I was at the hair salon and the shampoo girl asked me what I was writing. I told her I was writing a story about a girl whose mother had committed suicide.

"My dad committed suicide," she told me.

"I'm sorry," I said.

We were quiet a moment, then she spoke. "It's weird, but for awhile I was obsessed with photo albums."

"Oh?" I held my breath.

"I couldn't remember what he looked like. He had just died and I couldn't remember."

A confirmation.

Recently I added an element to my historical novel that I'm excited about. Excited and scared. I've never written anything like this before. Doubt crept into my process, a dangerous thing for a writer. Then last week I received a package from a new friend. I opened it and there it was. A feather. A confirmation. Thank you, Jennifer Profitt.

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