It's amazing how life drags us in directions we never dreamed possible. The Tonya Craft trial mesmerized me during the agonizing five weeks it lasted. Watching her try to maintain her demeanor during the intense and entirely too personal cross examination taught me about class. Praying while the verdicts were read gave me insight into her personal strength as she stood there and listened to one not guilty after another, only finally breaking down after hearing those precious words the twenty-second time. Even then, her only concern was for her children, and the others dragged into this mess.
Then reality intruded in my life. I had a manuscript through the critique process, an extremely good story about another issue in this area: teen drinking. It's very timely, as kids were finishing school and having parties to celebrate. A lot of those teens would go onto college, where binge drinking is as common as weekly tests and term reports. One only has to look at the news to see stories of young adults with their lives forever ruined with DUI or underage drinking arrests to see how common this phenomenon is. But my story shows consequences for those who stand up against those having fun and partying. And the story needed refining and cleaning up. So, I dove into those edits, often forgetting the time as I got caught up in the tale I crafted. Then I had nothing more to do than write a synopsis and logline, two things that eluded me until this morning. Both are in first draft status and they'll stay that way until a very good, published friend has a chance to look them over for glaring errors. Then I take a shot at an agent, something I've avoided since I started writing. But agents have good going for them as well as bad.
While I await that final part of my submission package, I'm back to putting together what I call the background of my new project, one I'll actually write in first person, present tense during NaNo, the annual gathering of millions of writers electronically to finish a book of 50,000 words or more in 30 days. That means I'll have to accomplish at least 1,667 new words a day. Impossible, you say. Well, this will be my sixth NaNo competition and hopefully, my sixth win. The first year I barely broke 50,000 words but since then have increased what I write, even going so far as to do 3 first drafts that keep my occupied over the next year with editing. This year, I plan to only indicate chapter breaks with a quick sentence and keep going through the manuscript until I finish. The time it takes to actually format and cut in a new chapter is far too long to do it over and over.
Before that happens, though, I must wade through all the diverse characters and their motivations that make up this tale. Then I have to create the scenery and appearance of all important locations of this story. Finally, I must 'create' my town, a fictional one to protect the innocent from attacks from those determined to make everyone 'like' them. Finally, I'll set up my easel and write out a plan to attack this endeavor, a plan I'll put at eye level so I can type away all day whilst my teen struggles through his first semester of high school. I have no doubts I'll finish this novel during November, but then comes the hard part. Turning it into a story editors will demand, for this tale is long from finished down here. Ms. Craft's personal struggle goes on and her public struggle has brought forth stories of others in prison through the same methods used against her. She encouraged others, like me and my husband, to come out of the woodwork and stand up for what we believe is right. And we will keep shouting until the justice system in this small northwest Georgia area is as our forefathers desired when they crafted the Bill of Rights.