Writing my First Novel

As I speak to groups now about A Ghostly Shade of Pale, people ask how long it took, what was the hardest thing about writing the novel, and where my inspiration comes from.

It took two to three years, off and on, to write Ghostly.  Many times you want to just give up. You write and rewrite so many times, you are certain now and then that it is no good, perhaps worse than that. You just get sick of it and have to walk away for a while to gain some perspective.  It has to get cold for you to feel the heat of the passion for the story again.

After one journey through the manuscript, I finally realized that it was flat and desperately needed some descriptors.  When I applied those, the flat and lifeless characters began to pop up off the page, and the scenes suddenly bore the fragrance of the flowers the players smelled and the aroma of love, loss, joy, and tragedy.

The hardest thing about writing?  Some say it is getting started, that first word or paragraph. I understand that sentiment, but for me, it was that willingness to go back in time and embrace the pain, to dig up bones and let them produce the emotion that is very hard to fake or simulate.

As far as inspiration, some writers tell me that they are inspired by a vivid imagination.  Others say that they meditate and wait for the ideas and scenes to burst out of their hiding places. Some are inspired by chemical stimulants, and that is not a good thing. As for me, I just remember a rich life, three lives in one full of all of the threads of living--the good, the bad, and the tragic.  Lessons lie dormant still in the dusty old recesses of your mind, threads of pain and purpose woven into blankets of yesterday. In those times of exploration, you not only find material for books, but now and then, you find yourself.

Merle Temple