So. . .What Now?



Page 100!

I just finished writing a book.

A real book.

It has characters, and plot, and conflict, and it made me laugh and cry while I wrote it.

It took me over twenty years to do it, though.

Paper Wrappers was originally a short story called Milly’s Magic that I wrote in a college creative writing course at UNC-Chapel Hill under the direction of Ms. Doris Betts.  I was pursuing a minor in creative writing to go with my English major.  Ms. Betts didn’t particularly care for Milly’s story.  It wasn’t her style or subject matter and she thought I used my characters’ names too often.  Several of my fellow students, however, thought there was potential in the story, especially for children, though they did point out it was a “Dumbo’s feather” story.

It is. I don’t deny that.

The next year, I was in a children’s creative writing course, finishing my minor, under the tutelage of Ms. Ruth Moose.  She loved Milly and wanted me to try to make her into a book.  She suggested some new conflicts for Milly to overcome.  I wrote two chapters before I became a teacher.

Then Milly took a back seat.

I worked on it over the course of my teaching career.  In fact, every time I shared Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist with a class, I would publicly recommit to finishing the manuscript.

But, much like Stephen King says in his book On Writing, teaching sucks the creative juice right out of you.  So, often, Milly got pushed to summer.

Somewhere along the line, the title changed to Paper Wrappers.


I guess my name changed along the line, too.

Several years ago, I toyed with changing Milly’s name to Hope.  But I couldn’t.

Some characters did change names.  Some just changed the way they spell their names.

At any rate, now I have a manuscript.  Think EB White and Charlotte’s Web or Stuart Little when you think about the age group of the intended audience.

Today, when I finished at approximately 2:10pm EST, I felt a little sad. But also excited. I have birthed a 28,913 word 100 page book.

I’m proud of Milly.  But I’m also scared for her.  What if no one likes her?

I’m not naive enough to think she doesn’t need some polish.  But, polish often has grit in it to smooth away those rough spots.

Truthfully, I just have no idea what to do now.


Paper Wrappers

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We’re getting closer to a paper wrapper and the reason I told you I really liked this shirt.

Read on, faithful followers.  Here’s the next five pages or so of the original manuscript. More

Paper Wrappers and Merry Christmas

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1268580_10201989747978213_1302152653_oBefore we find out what’s going on with Milly, let me take a moment to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas.  May you each know the joy and peace of the Christ Child.

And now. . .back to Milly.  When we last left her she had just gotten her library card (a very important possession) More

Paper Wrappers continued


Last month, we met Milly, a rising fifth grader who is moving to a new town after a devastating loss.  If you missed the first installment you can find it here.

Let’s continue. . . More