There is one key thing to do when you want to be a productive writer. You simply write. And write and write and write.
I had not worked on my latest MS (tentatively titled “Many Waters”) for about 2 months. It was a NaNoWriMo effort, and after NaNoWriMo was over, I just couldn’t look at it. It was nothing like what I wanted. I know what I want the book to be about, and yet it just is so squirrelly. I have so many dead ends and so many terribly overwritten parts.
But you know, the secret is simply to keep writing until the main story is done. So that’s what I’m doing.
You see, it’s 1957, and Henry is still living in Windmill, still trying to find his way, but he’s older now, nearly 18, and there are many more opportunities to explore, and many thing beckon to him. He’s thinking about colleges and careers, and many people offer him advice and direction. He’s reconciled with Joey and fighting (still) with Peggy. It’s normal life again after several years of repair after the hurricane of ‘52. The only unsettling thing is the cloud the size of man’s hand—the return of a former high school prom queen with her baby and her new divorce, with an eye for someone who’s going places.
Then H. Paradise Trueblood rolls into town, anxious to set up his new college which will become the world-wide headquarters for his radio Gospel Crusade. He flashes and bedazzles the town and the young kids, and Henry is drawn to the light.
But his science teacher is also trying to establish a base of reason and rationality, what with it being the International Geophysical Year of 1957, and Henry is also drawn to examination and discovery.
And into this mix is the return of Tommy Jordan, older, maybe wiser, and surely with secrets of his own after his stint in the Army overseas as a “consultant” for a series of quiet, rumored battles defending the interests of America.
Henry must walk this path between faith and reason, between what he knows and what he feels, between the attraction of a mystic communion and calm rationality. The choice is made more difficult when the influenza epidemic strikes the small town, and no one is spared, not the elderly in their quiet retirement or the young innocent brother.
Well, that’s what I’m working on. Getting back to writing is what I needed.