Posted by: Patrice Fitzgerald | September 15, 2009

Persistence

Calvin Coolidge said:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

I think it was Joe Finder, at the Hawaii Writers Conference, who told us that the successful writer is often the “last man standing” who keeps writing. Lots of people talk about writing books, but fewer start books, and fewer still finish. We were congratulated on being amongst the 1% of folks who actually wrote a book.

I’ve written three finished books, and parts of lots of others, along with 1.5 screenplays, about a quarter of a musical (plus lots of notes — ah, pun not intended), and shorts stories galore.

And so I am still writing books, 17 years (!) after I had the idea for the first one. From 1992 to 1993, being inspired by John Grisham’s “The Firm,” and thinking, hey, I’m a lawyer, and I can do that too! I wrote a sort of courtroom drama about three women who start a law firm. The gist of it is that well-known attorney Catherine represents the wife of a big deal former senator in a contentious divorce, while Catherine’s partner Jackie (a blonde, legal femme fatale who is fond of her spirits and very much a Samantha; before there was a Samantha) conducts a secret and torrid affair with the Senator himself. A third partner is the hard-working former prosecutor Tiara, a part that I was sure would be perfect for Oprah in the movie. The first title was “Conflict of Interest” which morphed into “The Law of Desire” and then “Motions” and on through another several possibilities.

The central idea was good, but I didn’t know how to write yet. When I got all three partners in the room for the big blow-up fight, where all hell was supposed to break loose, I had them weep a bit, apologize and hug and… have tea. Ack! Readers, note that tendency to avoid conflict — which we all do in real life. Seek conflict! Hype the fights! Stoke the anger!!

Anyway, that book is sitting in the drawer somewhere. When I get rich and famous on my memoir, and they beg me to pull out some earlier material so they can produce it quickly to sate my clamoring public, I will give it a little freshening up (and a lot more conflict) and voila! A fabulous new novel from the famous me.

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Responses

  1. Yup. I know all about avoiding conflict. šŸ™‚


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