If I’m quiet right now, it’s because I’m listening. Listening to how this story wants to be, listening to what it wants to say.

Before this book (which is to say, before Sweetpea), I was a fairly quick writer. If a story or book was going to work, it usually came together within two drafts. After that it was just tinkering. Lots of tinkering sometimes, reworking a scene or a paragraph or a sentence. But no wholesale rewriting of entire sections of the book.

But with this story, it’s different. I’ve lost track of how many versions I have.

Is it because I have so much less time to write? Or because some stories are just that way? I don’t know. But it wasn’t until halfway through the last draft that the true voice of the book finally turned up.

It’s like a candle, that voice. Or maybe a lifeline. But to follow it, I have to chuck out the entire beginning of the book.

So that’s what I’m doing this week. Starting again, from scratch.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I think about how the old beginning used to make me happy. I think how it earned me an honorable mention from the SCBWI WIP Grant committee, at a time when I desperately needed the encouragement.

But then I hear that voice in my head. That true voice. And I’m ready to trust that this is where I need to go.