REBIRTH OF A NOVEL
When I first published Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, I bowed to the traditional publishing view that a novel should not be more than 70,000 to 80,000 words.
Although, in the process of editing a manuscript that became a typescript in time, I cut thousands of words and scenes from the original in much the same way as the film editor cuts celluloid from the movie. Some scenes were no longer relevant to the story as a whole. Some took the story in a vastly different direction. Some were melodramatic in the extreme. And some were simply too much of a good thing.
Since I had started the work at the end of the 20th Century, it isn’t surprising that some scenes were irrelevant. At the time, I was involved with domestic violence as a volunteer with a women’s refuge organization. These concerns became part of the book as well but were a radical tangent from the story I intended to tell.
This is all a part of the process of creation, what Michaelangelo called “freeing the statue from the marble.”
I had a lot of marble to work with! First of all, because I had not written anything at all in nearly fifteen years, there was a lot of pressure built up in the brain volcano. Second, I’m a free-flow writer, what some call ‘organic’ others call ‘pantser.’ As you’d expect, I prefer ‘organic’ under these circumstances.
Once again, I stopped writing. Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls (then untitled and a motley collection of various types of paper and notebooks) returned to the shelf for another ten years. But the desire to write this particular story remained. In the final six years before Salsa Dancing‘s first publication, I grasped the dream of writing and claimed it.
After Avalon Books acquired and published Wait a Lonely Lifetime, I felt free to pursue my writing on a professional basis. Like many of my colleagues, I had discovered the entrepreneur within. In years past, I had established several successful businesses and felt the same urge to do so as an author.
Therefore, bowing to convention, I split Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls into two books – a Dickensian method. Part I was published in January 2013 and Part II in March of the same year. After a while, I realized my mistake. Following a discussion with a number of my colleagues and taking their good advice, I withdrew the two volumes from the market and went to work to revise the novel to its original intended condition.
With a redesigned cover and months of careful attention to detail, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, 2nd Edition, hit the cyber regions on March 23, 2014 and its paperback edition on March 30th. I still consider this my magnum opus because I touch on so many of the important truths of my own life and philosophy. Such a book is hard to categorize but Salsa has a happy ending.
Thank goodness. I’m glad that I can look forward to a happy ending to what sounds like a delightful read. Thanks so much for sharing your experience writing Salsa Dancing with us, Leigh. Good luck with all your books.