Have you ever stripped a piece of furniture to give it a new life and a fresh purpose? Recently, I finished a project that I’ve been dragging my feet on, and found the process actually refreshing and satisfying. I inherited my late brother’s trunk, which he in turn inherited from our late father. It was sooo dated that it would have made a great prop for a pirate movie. Yet, there was so much history and character to this trunk, I wanted it for a personal challenge, as well as to have a keepsake from my brother and father. So, after being ‘stuck’ as my hubby called it, in the garage since February, I began to seriously work on my trunk at the end of the August.
Honestly, I really, really hate the stripping process. It’s kind of like editing the first draft of your book. You know you have to grin and bear it to remove the gunk, and get to the bones of the story. So you do it. My elbows and hands are still screaming at me! Slowly, but surely, the old red and gold paint peeled off to reveal the trunk’s original color. The poor thing appeared so naked, so exposed, like a newborn baby with bits of after-birth stuck to it. Sorry for the visual, but it’s true.
Next came choosing the new paint color. I wanted to go with a dark brown—mostly to hide all the flaws in the trunk’s body caused by my scraper. Perhaps I used little too much elbow grease. Hubby helped me with this part, carefully spraying the sides, allowing the trunk time to dry, then giving it another coat. Covering the flaws reminded me of the care a writer takes in creating characters. Like the gouges and grooves in my trunk, your characters NEED flaws because readers must feel some sort of connection with them. Readers WANT to cheer on those flawed underdogs, see them scream, watch them change and grow. And when that connection happens, they wholeheartedly invest in your characters and the hell authors drag them through.
Once the paint was completely dry, it was on to varnishing the trunk. Boo-yah! This was a painstakingly long process, done by hand. But there was no turning back now! I did two coats and allowed the varnish time to dry and hardened. Like revising and polishing your book before submitting for publication (self or traditional), the varnishing step protects and gives a glossy finish to the trunk to give it life. This process reflects something every writer needs to do in order to get the best quality book in the hands of their readers.
Speaking of improvements, Book #2 of the Last Timekeepers time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret was originally written in 2001. There’s been so many revisions and rewrites to this novel that fifteen years later, I’m so proud of the final product. I do hope you get a chance to check it out when this Timekeeper mission is released on October 17th! So grab your spy gear and suit up, the Timekeepers are going undercover in their next time travel adventure! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!