Sunday, August 12, 2012

Orange Barrel Season

      If you live in any part of the country where the winters are long and harsh, you know what Orange Barrel Season is. It’s that short window of opportunity for road crews to take care of business. Every spring, as soon as the last threat of frost leaves, the orange barrels come out, cutting two lanes of traffic down to one, stretching on for miles in every direction. Crews rip up the old pavement which was full of potholes and not quite right, and smoothes it all out, ending with a fresh coat of asphalt or concrete, making every car glide smoothly along the road. By the time the first snowflakes fall, the orange barrels are picked up and put into storage until the following spring.
     I currently have a work in progress that has been hounding me for years. It’s a time travel, and I wrote it backwards to begin with, by sending my hero forward in time. Every contest I entered told me of my error, but yet I hesitated to rip it apart and redo it, since very little of what had been written would survive such a drastic rewrite.
     But this work wouldn’t leave me alone. It kept whispering to me, “Try it this way and see what happens.” I decided to follow the muse in my head and write just the first hundred pages, sending my heroine back in time, as everyone insisted was right and proper. I submitted it into a few contests and lo and behold, I placed third in one and first in another! When I returned from Nationals, having read “Save The Cat” while on the plane, this book whispered again. No, it didn’t whisper. It stomped its feet and demanded to be finished. I wrote a new beginning for it, which I unveiled yesterday at my Red Pen Fiction Writers Group, to decent reviews.
     Since this book is keeping me up at night, insisting to be written, I think I’m going to finally declare my study an Orange Barrel zone, and get to work on it, revising the first part and writing the second part. I’ll fill in the potholes, fix the not quite right sections and smooth it all out. I don’t think I’ll be able to take down the barrels by the time the leaves fall, but at least by then I’ll be well on my way to a finished product. I can’t wait.

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