2018 is a year of do-overs for my Ridgewood characters and their stories. Forget everything about them. Forget all of it.
This is the year that began with a blank slate—a book of blank paper where anything is possible.
Like many writers, there are times when I dread starting the blank paper because, well, if you’ll allow me to use boating metaphor, I know I will have many false starts before my story finally leaves port and sets sail.
Writing stories can be very much like sailing out on an open sea. You obtain a good crew and the proper vessel and provisions for the voyage. You gather information from others who have made similar voyages. Then, as you make your way to sea, you find that your boat isn’t crafted as well as you thought. You discover that your compass is unable to locate true north and your maps are missing important information. And sometimes, your crew—those characters you spent so much time with preparing for this voyage—commit mutiny, take charge of your vessel, and sail into uncharted waters.
It’s hell out there on the high seas. And it’s hell writing stories—especially novels. Those are the long voyages, the ones where you know you’re going to run into all sorts of problems. But like those old sea dogs who keep sailing, you keep writing. Either for the love of adventure or the love of telling stories—or both—you do it for the love of doing it.
And I love telling stories. Even when I have mapped the route and I know where I want my story to go and the direction changes, I love it.
So, here we are, two months into 2018 and I’m finishing getting my crew ready for our voyage. Our boat is still Ridgewood and our voyage is still along the deep waters of Myers Ridge. Some of the crew has changed, but Vree Erickson is still aboard and I’m almost ready to give her the helm. She is younger now—13—but that’s okay. The blank slate in January allowed it to happen. Her best friend on this voyage is her neighbor Julie Douglas. Julie’s big brother, 15-year-old Kaden, is Vree’s love interest. Puppy love is still love and it comes with a ton of emotional baggage. He has eyes for Vree’s musically gifted, 15-year-old sister, Amy. But she is too interested in music to notice boys right now, which is okay because Kaden is moments away from finding a green crystal that’s going to change his life and Vree’s and Julie’s too.
Tune in next time for “Did We Just Change Course?” or “That’s Not a Compass, Silly. That’s a Pocket Watch.”