A few weeks ago, on Hugs & Chocolate, Tonia Marie Houston was talking about how to “Conquer the Revision Blues” when she said, “Ask yourself what pulled you into that world in the first place.” As excited as I’ve been about my story, I’ve been stuck on how to get started with Draft 2. For me, the first draft is so easy, so free. With the second one, I feel a lot of pressure to get it right this time.
I’ve been suffering from the Revision Blues.
And I knew Tonia was right. I had to remind myself what it was that originally inspired me to write my story. I had to get out of my head and get back to the heart of it.
So I decided to write a letter from my muse. I gave her permission to use my fingers to tell me exactly what inspired me to write this story the very first time it popped into my head. It might not make a lot of sense as I wrote it in a made rush and haven’t done much proofreading but I thought I’d share with you what she had to say.
How could he cheat on her? The person I admire more than almost anyone I’ve ever met. She’s smart, funny, talented, beautiful, educated, well-dressed, compassionate and hard-working. She’s the type of woman I strive to be.
My husband is the one who told me that her husband had cheated on her. Apparently everyone knew about it but me. I wondered how she could stay with him after that. How could she forgive him? Had she? Or was she simply staying with him because they’d been together so long? Or because they had a kid together. Had it happened before their son or after?
And how could she continue to face everyone knowing they knew about his affair. Was she humiliated? Did people ask her about it or did they simply pretend they didn’t know like I did? Which was worse to her? Would it have been better to just get it all out in the open and move on?
She seemed so strong to me. Like the kind of woman who took the hard times, lifted her chin and put on stronger armor. But she’s a woman and I know what it feels like to be a woman. No one is that strong. How many times had she cried herself to sleep at night? How many nights had she slept in another room or stayed late at work so she didn’t have to face him? Had they fought about it or just pretended it never happened? Or did they have a heart to heart and agree to get past it?
The more I got to know them, the less I understood. Because after everything, despite all my questions, they still seem to love each other so much. The first time I went to their house, I saw a home they built together. I tried to imagine her there. I’d only ever seen her in professional situations with her work hat on. What was she like with her family? What was she like alone? What was she like with him?
He told me about one of their date nights. Date night. I hadn’t even thought about it. Somehow I thought they simply tolerated each other but no. They had date nights. He told me about one in particular where she had to leave as soon as their food arrived, leaving him alone, without a car, stranded at the restaurant. Only when he had finished his dinner and boxed up hers, did she return.
A glimpse. A glimpse of what it must be like to be married to the most successful woman in the world and another question of what really defined success. Infidelity is never acceptable but could it at least be understood and empathized with?
While I’m still struggling with getting the first new words just right, I feel like I’ve come a long way since I wrote this letter a few weeks ago. I’ve spent many hours brainstorming and looking for inspiration, and now my story is completely different than it was originally, and different even from my other Draft 2 ideas. My heroine has become more real, more likable and my hero is finally starting to fit into his cape. And I know that inspired draft is not far behind.