I won’t be taking When We Come Home to the San Francisco Writer’s Conference with me.  At first I felt as though I had failed.  But I realize now it’s the only right decision.  Maggie’s story simply isn’t ready.  She’s not polished, and before I hand her over to an agent or publisher who will decide my fate, I want her shining like a diamond.

It’s all right.  Although patience has never been my strongest suit, I’ll wait.  I have two non-fiction book proposals ready and waiting in the wings.  I have the beginning of a memoir I plan to enter in the SFWC Writing Contest.  So – really, it’s all right.

Here’s the problem.  The most important part of the novel – it’s beginning – is a mess.  How do I know this?  Aside from the fact that a very good editor told me so, more proof arrived in the form of Olive Kitteridge.

A friend recommended that I read the book by Elizabeth Strout.  When it was offered on loan, I sighed heavily and accepted it begrudgingly while thinking “when am I going to find time to read another book?”  It collected dust for a couple weeks and then, over the weekend I dipped in.  By page 5 – PAGE FIVE – I was hooked.

Of course, I would expect a Pulitzer Prize winning novel to have me hooked by page five.

I should expect no less from myself.  And, so, I need to do a little bit of rewriting.  I owe it to Maggie.  I want my readers to know who she is.  I want them to want to read past page five.