I thought I was getting nowhere in my book editing. My word count seemed to yoyo – Up and down – 41,000 then 31,000 – Words cut, words added – Scenes changed, scenes cut, and scenes added. It all seemed useless as if this would never end and this story would die from the millions of little cuts.

But I looked back at all the small changes and days of hundreds of words typed during silent morning, and saw that it had made a difference. The story was there, and it’s shape was leaner and faster and tighter. And my heart at last told me …

this was the story you were trying to write but didn’t know how to. This was the story you were afraid to tell. And in all the bad writing days where you wrote word by agonizing word, it has all come down to this – truth and light and warmth shining in dark frozen places.

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How does one write? Word by word. Hope by hope. Heart to heart.
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You are only as much as you are.

All of you, all of you, your past, your hopes, your dreams, your sins, your passions, your race, your gender, your politics, your loves, your vices, your strengths, your weaknesses, your moments of greatest happiness, your moments of greatest sadness, your needs, your desires, your yearnings, your envy, your family tree, your sleep, the way you eat, your idiosyncrasies, ALL OF YOU adds up into the precious and priceless person that you are. But you are only as much as you are.

What if … your writing was only as much as you are.

So how much are you willing to confess on the white page?

I pray … as much as you are.

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I think I’m finally understanding what it means to develop that white hot center in a scene. But this “white hot center” only happens when you know what the real, real, real, real, real problem or issue is.

It is hard to find that real problem, that heart of darkness. It hides from you, lies to you and says that your story is about this when it really is about that.

It’s like playing hide and seek, like Bilbo Baggins searching for the white Arkenstone in a sea of golden words and glittering sentences. You’ll know it when you see it, but you just have to find it. And when you do … the light of your Arkenstone will shed its white light on your story trove. It will bring forth the seething dragon with all fire and teeth out from beneath the gold to stand with all his terrible glory above you. Why must we find our white hot center, our Arkenstone in every scene? Because finding it not only reveals the treasured beauty of your story, but also draws out the dramatic tension that makes the pages sing and tinkle like gold spilling down from the feet of a great fire breathing problem.

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Another morning. Another few words. Another story to throw myself in. Another book to endow with harrowing episodes of love and loss and legend. It’s on mornings like these (-17 below 0) that I am happy. Happy to get up every morning and write. Happy to tell stories that only I may love…. Is that okay? Yes. Yes it is okay, because we are all not as lonely as we all may think. For there are boys and girls who love myths and legends and battles with creepy fish face monsters. I hope to meet these children one day. And we will have a grand day, talking about creepy fish faced monsters and battles and legends and impossible myths. But all that cannot happen until I write a few more words … just a few more words.

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