A story, it seems, is all about form. There’s the form of the characters, in more ways than one, and the form of the arc of the story, and the form of the point or conclusion. Once all that is resolved – and reaching that stage is no easy task – the whole notion of the form of a story takes on a different meaning.
As previously reported, the good people at Blemish Books are publishing a novella of mine, Fall On Me, in September this year. Whilst the idea for the novella – what if you were the parent of a teenage son who insists on doing provocative things with his body? – has been with me for some time, a couple of years at least, the actual story didn’t show up on the page until April-May last year, when I spent a month in Tasmania courtesy of the City of Launceston.
Now, twelve months later, we’re at the stage of the story taking physical form, which is a bit like watching a thought grow wings and fly off over the horizon. Blemish has edited the manuscript and I’m going through each comment carefully, considering how – and perhaps even why – I’ll respond. We’re also discussing cover concepts; all of us working on the project want to keep it simple, but which design will attract readers (of which, I’m sure, there’ll be thousands…in my dreams)? While this has been going on, there have been attempts to source a quote from a suitably high-profile author who may be open to publicly praising the book in the form of a blurb. And then there’s the launcher: who will formally send the the book into the world?
Publishing, by definition, means ‘to make public’. Here’s this humble little novella, which was meant to be a short story but somehow, for some reason, became something else, a novella that’s come from somewhere deep inside me, my heart and brain and soul, another place too, a place without a name. It was written for myself, really that’s why I wrote it – why else produce a novella-length manuscript? But here it is now, month by month, moving from internal to external, from private to public, from this is mine to this will soon be yours. In all the decisions that are currently being made – this word or that word, this cover or that cover, this launcher or that launcher? – is a leap of faith: is this – am I – good enough?