Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Nobody tells you when you're just starting out as a writer just how much you will change and your manuscript will change and your outlook on the world will change.

I think it's sort of like how we protect an expectant mother from the reality of a colicky fitful baby and focus on the darling dress and sweet socks she'll be dressed in. Or perhaps it's more than the expectant mother simply cannot see what life with baby will be like until baby is actually in her arms, so why bring it up?

When I set out to write a book set in Depression-era Gee's Bend, I couldn't fathom the number of drafts, the number of character I would add, then later cut, the number of times I would use the "find" and "replace" features on Microsoft WORD. And that's before I ever added an editor to the mix.

Change is good. And sometimes it's scary and overwhelming too. The road is fraught with self-doubt and shifting confidence that floods the beach one moment, the next leaves it pocked with broken shells and sea glass. But ultimately change equals growth. And that's always good to see.

The latest change in my writing life is the title of my book: say goodbye to the witches, because my publisher has officially christened the book LEAVING GEE'S BEND. The thinking here is "witches" is misleading in that the book contains nothing paranormal... and they want to shift the focus to my ten year old girl's amazing adventure. Cool, huh?

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

~Mary Engelbreit


  1. That does make sense, Irene. When I read the story, I expected it to be more about witches and the paranormal, so the new title seems more appropriate.

    Sounds like things are coming closer to being finished and that is very exciting! And you are right, change may be hard, but it can also be very good.


  2. Interesting. Are there witches in it?

  3. I was just talking yesterday to a writer that for your characters to change you have to change. Not easy but always worth it.

    Love your new title. I would have thought witches meant there would be paranormal activity.

  4. I love the image of change and the beach. That's beautiful Irene. I can't wait to meet Gee.


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