Writing a difficult scene last night, I almost made myself physically ill. It was like method acting (or like I imagine method acting I should say, as I really know squat about the actual mechanics of method acting). I had gotten so deeply into the moment with my character (or she had become so rooted in my mind I couldn't separate), that I found myself feeling what I put her through. I hope it translates to palpable reading when the novel takes flight and actually makes it to other humans (fingers crossed).
While I don't like writing myself sick, I love the idea of being that connected to the story. That's what I love as a reader—a creative work that draws me in so completely that I know the characters and care about them deeply.
I attended this great class at the WriterHouse called Agent 101 with Jeff Kleinman of Folio Literary Management. The class had two main takeaways for me. First, I left feeling encouraged. Again and again, Mr. Kleinman said good writing, narrative momentum, and strong voice made writers and their work appealing for agents to represent. I can do that. I sure hope I can. Second, I felt amazed and humbled by the number of different writers in the room. Some had published novels and won awards 20 years ago and fancied returning to the the biz now. Some had a story that pressed on their hearts they always wanted to share. Others wrote children's books that blossomed out of family projects. The writers in the room felt as diverse as I'm sure their creative works are. But we were united in the goal of wanting to get our stories out there with help of an agent.
I'm so grateful for this time I've carved out in my life, which I know is something not possible for every writer, to be able to focus so much of my time and energy on the work. My goal/hope for myself is that I'll finish this novel and it will grip readers and keep them emotionally engaged and turning pages. And my hope for writers everywhere, regardless of their life circumstances, that they keep trying to get their stories out there.