Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"The End"

Today I finished "Heal Thyself." It came in at a little shy of 107,000 words and after living with Lillian Tor and Jahnisssim Hal Zev for just over a year, it feels strange to have their story end.

I have blogged before about how difficult writing this novel has been. Difficult, yes. A challenge, certainly. But in the end, extraordinarily gratifying.

This was my first primarily character-driven novel. While all my stories revolve around character to some extent, they also moved from plot point to plot point along an outline that was like pearls on a necklace. "Heal Thyself" was not like that. I had the basic event that set the plot in motion: A healer from one culture saves the life of an injured man from another and all hell breaks loose. But beyond that, the story *is* Lilliane and Zev. The plot moves through them and because of them. The story is even told exclusively through their points of view.

I had to trust their voices for the past year, even as I felt I was walking the high wire without a net. For me, outline and plot are a safety net. Writing without them took me in places I would not have gone otherwise and I took risks with this story that I am not usually comfortable doing.

The end result is a story that I am very proud of and characters I have grown to love and respect.

Now I get to place it in the hands of my first and best reader--my husband. It's a strange feeling. For a year, this story was mine alone. Once I give it to him, it will be shaped by his perceptions and his expectations. I suppose all art is something that takes place in the intersection between the artist and the audience, in this case, the writer and the reader.

I look forward to seeing how that collaboration unfolds.


  1. now see when you explain it to me like that,, the human stories around which the book is woven,, i feel much more inclined to want to read it than i do when i get the whole sci fi vibe... am i being a snob?? i should really give it a try i guess,, and not be so ready to shut down when i see the first reference to something "otherworldy"....i will have to go back and read that clip again in light of this post,, as i get such a different feel froom this explanation of the book...

  2. Paisley--thank you *so* much for coming back and leaving this comment! Your perspective is invaluable in helping me figure out how to describe this story in a way that readers will find compelling. The story is the story of two people finding one another and their own strengths, despite adversity. That the adversity includes cultural differences, magical, and politics is simply the backdrop against which Zev and Lilliane's story unfolds.

    Thank you for helping me see that's where I need to focus.