I’m working on revisions. Ivan Doig once wrote that revisions were his favorite time because that’s when he found out what the story was all about. I’ve always liked that, though before I wrote much, I wondered how he could write an entire book without knowing what it was about.
Now I begin with my three questions of intention, attitude and purpose. Just to give you an idea, with my work in progress here were my original answers: Intention: to tell the story of Emma’s renewal within an 1860s religious colony. Attitude: hopefulness can be nurtured and must be to live a full and meaningful life; and humility and ordinary-ness are honorable virtues. Purpose: engagement with community enriches the soul and contributes to the world even if all desires of one’s heart are never met.
Now that the book is finished and has been been sitting for four weeks, and the editors have reviewed it, here’s how I’ll answer those questions: Intention: to tell the story of Emma’s finding a full life within her religious colony despite the constrictions. Attitude (what I feel deeply about): family comes in all shapes and sizes, and being in service to it brings meaning to our lives. Purpose (how do I hope a reader might be changed): the experts suggest the word “prove” should be in this sentence--I want to prove that hope can be learned; that being a good parent is a worthy goal, that reconciliation in family is not dependent on everyone’s forgiveness, and that a worthy legacy can be left by leading a loving and ordinary life.
Now all I have to do is make that happen in the manuscript and hope someone else will want to read it.
Jane Kirkpatrick is busy on the revisions of A Mending at the Edge, book three; book two, A Tendering in the Storm has just been released. www.jkbooks.com