This morning I added the words "Retired on 10-25-11" to my computer folder "Adventures in Chekorah (Cherokeland) Trilogy" and moved it to my "Retired, Archived and Old Ideas" folder.
This was my greatest masterpiece. It was my earliest and most worked-on idea. I had written 1 and 1/2 books on a proposed set of 3. I had made my friends cry and laugh over it. I had gotten approval and encouragement over it from friends, relatives and even teachers. I had had it professionally edited (for a huge chunk out of my wallet). I had even had proposals from a small publisher for it.
But I'm setting it aside. It'll never be published. At least not in the form it's in right now.
It was much too worked. It was overly hammered: bent out of shape. I kept changing the plot. I was never satisfied with it. And, truthfully, it's getting a little old.
But it's not to die. Not it's lovely characters I love so much. Not my sparkling mysterious island somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Not the evil queen and her murderous schemes.
See, it needed a makeover. Bad. And with a handful of major plot changes, and a whole fresh emotional look on it and on my writing as a whole, I set it aside, as is, to paint it again on a new canvas.
The book that was once so funny, adventurous, and daring is so no longer. What was once "Adventures in Cherkorah": adventures for adventures sake, is gone. It needed something crucial: a spine.
In my literature class I've been learning that all the great works have something in common. They have an idea, a moral, that the author was trying to send to the reader. All writers, purposefully or not, are telling their readers something.
And as a Christian, with the goal of my life to honor and glorify Christ, why wasn't my book doing this? True, it had it's moral-istic, something-better's-coming, put-your-trust-up-there parts. But it wan't enough.
As some of you may or may not know, my older brother was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago. It's probably the factor God has used to most shape my life. I've had a bush closer to death than most teenagers have experienced. Maybe a grandparent or relative is sick or has died in your family, but there's something different about your only sibling, daily, dying, in your house. It's vivid. But it's the best thing that's ever happened too me.
Maybe I wouldn't like it if the outcome was any different than the one God has graciously given us: cancer-free, after 6 rounds of chemo. But it has nonetheless be my greatest trial, and my most shaping influence. It's helped me see life, and death, through better glasses, and to have a motivating goal in life.
But how did I cope? Badly.
How should you cope? How can you? When everything's gone? When you can't see anything to live for?
Hence my book.
For those who knew the old Cherokeland books, it'll have the same plot gist and main characters. But it'll be darker, yet tougher, morbid, yet more hopeful.
It'll finally be real.
Join me as I paint out my new novel: "An Island of Grief in a Sea of War".