On Summit Road is well underway. My second novel set in Sheboygan County, WI, features Marion Goodman, a woman whose company I am enjoying. It has been fun getting to know her. She’s in her early sixties, a former middle school teacher, a relatively new widow, who probably sees her life playing out quietly in the country where she lives. Of course, I can’t give her any peace.
I’m about a third of the way through the first draft, but I’m not sure how this novel will end. I read recently that Toni Morrison always knows her endings; then she goes from there. I don’t think I know with certainty where this novel will end. I have a few ideas, but I’ve not written an ending.
Probably every writer’s process is unique. On Summit Road came to me one day, the idea for the main character, her main conflict, and a couple of minor characters. Once I decided the idea was worth pursuing, I began taking notes. Once that process begins, it seems I’m almost obsessed with my new universe. The more the characters live in my mind the better. Writing does not always mean pushing a pen or keys, though of course, at some point it comes to that. The process of imagining cannot be undervalued or rushed.
I am at the point now where I must set a deadline for myself as I did with A Hollow Bone. Without a time goal, I’m too likely to procrastinate. But unlike this experience, A Hollow Bone lived in my head for many years before I starting plunking on keys. I’d like to speed up the process this time.