Yesterday I heard a story about a woman who had "unfriended" one of her best friends on Facebook because that friend had put up some rather graphic pictures of herself in the midst of childbirth.
I've given birth four times so I know firsthand that childbirth is a beautiful, natural and, lets face it... a MESSY process. Not something I would share on Facebook. (My kids would die of mortification if pictures like that existed anyway.)
Most people are aware that childbirth is messy, and most people probably wouldn't share graphic pictures of that process with the world. But what you may not be aware of, the birth of a novel can be just as messy (okay, with less blood).
So I was in shock and awe when my fellow author, mentor, and sister-in-law, Angela Morrison, decided to let the world in on such a private moment...the birth of her novel.
CAYMAN SUMMER--the third book in the TAKEN BY STORM series I reviewed on Wednesday--is going up bit by bit on Angela's devoted CAYMAN SUMMER Blog. She's holding nothing back. You get to see free-writes and handwritten notes, poems and dive logs. Each piece is formed and brought forth--wide eyed and blinking--into the world.
Not only is Angela throwing the doors open for everyone to view this process, she's allowing and even welcoming criticism and comments about her new baby. Honestly, I don't have that much courage.
Writing in serial isn't a new idea. Charles Dickens did it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did it. Even Stephen King and Orson Scott have done it. Magazine and newspaper serials were how many great 19th century novelists got their start. Now with e-books and the Internet, it's happening again, but Angela's take on the idea may be unique. She isn't presenting CAYMAN SUMMER as a complete work--serialized into segments. She's presenting it as a "work in progress" and allowing everyone to be a part of that progress.
My hat is off to Angela. I have to revise a chapter 3 or 4 times to take it to my critique group, actually posting it raw and asking for comments would be too hard for my delicate ego to take.
For anyone tackling the writing process, I would encourage you to stop by Angela's CAYMAN SUMMER Blog. Poke around, read the writing, check out the rough drafts, browse the comments, leave your own comments, feed the fish, (that's one of my favorite parts!), and learn. Angela has an MFA from the prestigious Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's an excellent writer and a great teacher. I owe so much of my writing ability to her mentoring. You'll learn a lot from watching her process unfold. And it's encouraging to know that even great writers make mistakes and have to revise.
For everyone else, I'd encourage you to visit the site and READ because it's a GREAT story. (And did I mention it's fun to feed the fish? Just hover over them with the mouse and then click and they eat the little virtual food pellets. How cool is that?)
I'm not going to miss a post because I love watching the process and...well...I'm dying to know what happens to Michael and Leesie. (And I like to visit the fish.)
So fellow writers...I want to know, how many of you would be brave enough to post the birth of your novel this way?