Thursday, September 12, 2002

I don’t know quite how to describe it, so I’ll just write it: I went to see Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series of books, Tuesday night.

I really enjoyed it. She talked about her books, answering some of the more frequently-asked questions, then opened up the floor. She spoke candidly and humorously about her life, and what brought her to write Mitford. It’s amazing; she spent over a decade in advertising, pulling 16-hour days, and feeling completely empty inside, until she finally gave over her life (and her work, a distinctily separate operation) to God.

I was able to ask her how much preparation she does before she sits down to write, and she answered that she actually doesn’t do much. She usually has a vague idea of where she’s going to go, of how the story will end, but she has to create the story on demand, as she types.

I needed to hear that. I’ve been anxious to re-write the script for Murmur, and I’ve been worrying about my skills. Do I actually have the ability at this point to write this kind of story?

Jan Karon’s words reminded me that so many authors have no idea what they’re doing when they write, but they write anyway and hope for the best. Which is what I have to do. My confidence has been returning, and that will help, but I think I need to concentrate less on writing the next great children’s film, and more on just crafting an interesting story.

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