• Jessica Sherry

Story Tunneling: Obsess Much?

So, I’ve been trapped in a tunnel. Think Escape from Alcatraz, digging a body-sized hole with a spoon. That’s me, only Alcatraz is the novel I’m writing and well, the spoon is, a keyboard, I guess—bear with me.

Creepy Tunnel

It’s a great idea at first—you know, spooning your way out of prison or writing a book—but then you actually have to do the work. Progress no one sees but you (and sometimes, you don't see it either). Then, you get to a point where there’s NO TURNING BACK. So you obsessively spoon, claw, cry your way through it (without getting lost in the scene playground). And you can’t stop because you might lose the momentum and the tunnel will cave in and you MUST get to the end. Because the end is super-sweet… IF you ever get there.

Seriously, Helga's one of my fav cartoon characters... AND she's another obsessive--like me.

Anyway, for the last four months, I’ve been trapped in a book-writing tunnel.

A brief aside: I have NO IDEA how I remember Escape from Alcatraz—I had to look it up to make sure my memories matched the story. I must’ve seen it. I distinctly remember the concrete slab and the guys digging away with spoons, but damn. I was like four when it came out, and it doesn’t seem like the kind of movie a child should see. Way to go, Mom & Dad. Anyway, it’s funny how such things burn into your brain for you to recall many years later and, you know, blog about.

Okay, so, being in the writing tunnel means… yikes, confession time… that most things have fallen to the wayside. Housework. Personal grooming. My Christmas decorations stayed up past mid-January. I’ve barely read any books or blogged any blogs. Almost everything gets left behind when you’re in the tunnel, especially when you see the light ahead.

Shameful confessions aside, there’s good news. I finished three books, ya’ll. Book four in the Delilah Duffy Mystery Series, Pyra-Sea, is nearing publication. The fifth and final in the series, Odd-a-Sea, awaits edits. AND a new novel One Thing Better has been written, reviewed by Joe, edited, and polished.

About One Thing Better, Joe said, "Yes, a thousand times, yes!" If anyone out there would like to volunteer their services as one of my FIRST READERS, please, please, let me know.

Anyway, last week, I started the equally daunting tunnel-like task of seeking an agent for it. Though I’m self-publishing my Delilah Duffy series, my ultimate goal is traditional publishing. Think agent + publisher + book deal = shelf space at Barnes & Noble. Though months of probable rejection looms ahead (prayers for book success are always appreciated), we have high hopes for One Thing Better.

Here’s an elevator pitch:

Make ONE THING BETTER. Lena Buckley’s motto has saved her from feeling overwhelmed for three tough years. Trying to reconnect in 2020 while the world shuts down, she relies on it again. Well, that & boxed wine, Flex Seal, & a horse named Shadow.

Coming soon to a bookstore near you?

Funny how you can tunnel through a 100,000-word novel only to get hung up on a four-sentence elevator pitch. It’ll surely go through many, many drafts.

Like all the books, too. Obsessing over every word is a necessary part of the tunnel. I admit even now that I’ve queried a few agents, I’m jonesing for another go at One Thing Better. I'm forever tweaking. The tunnel could be endless if I let it.

Anyway, the upside is that if you care enough about it to obsess over it, then there must be value in it, right? The more you obsess, the closer to finished it’ll get (though it’ll never really be finished). There’s nothing wrong with obsessing (a little).

Speaking of obsessing, I recently fell in love with this video. You gotta watch it start to finish, okay? Then, imagine this is me with my characters. Ha!

It’s good to be on the other side of the tunnel, for now. There’s mental space for everything I've put on hold. I’m coming for you, Christmas wrapping paper still in my bedroom and gardening and composting and long overdue blogs… I’m tired. Maybe a nap first.

Oh, in case you’re a Delilah fan, here are the blurbs for the upcoming books:

Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery #4

What’re ten seconds compared to a lifetime?

Everything can change in seconds. Bookstore manager and crime-solver, Delilah Duffy knows that better than anyone. When her Happily Ever After Valentine’s Day Bash ends in fiery destruction, everything she’s worked for burns with it. Pregnant and brokenhearted, Delilah fans the flames of her anger toward what she’s good at: solving crimes. Hot on the trail of an arsonist while her nemesis is on hers, Delilah fights to get her life back. Will she turn ash to treasure before the pyromaniac strikes again? Or will all her island dreams end in an inferno?

Odd-a-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery #5

Dear Mystery Maven, Sorry I cannot wait any longer, but I must…

Delilah Duffy has finally won the life she’s battled for since moving to the island. Almost. She fears the oasis she’s created will come to a quick end when Chris Kayne returns for her. When a studio executive’s odd murder thrusts Delilah into the investigation, her fears become reality. One strange death to the next, Chris Kayne is back to enact his dark plans. Or is he? After everything she’s learned about her supervillain soulmate, Delilah doesn’t believe it—or doesn’t want to. With the stakes higher than ever and the body count rising, unraveling the killer’s twisted game is the only way to secure her happily-ever-after… if she and her loves can survive it.

Okay... so I'm not going to obsess over this blog anymore. Well, maybe a little. Share your thoughts, confessions, obsessions below!