Last week, I asked the question, “How is writing a novel like figure skating?” In that blog, I stated there was one more similarity—and difference—to come. For those of you who’ve been anxiously and breathlessly awaiting that, here it is!
Anyone remember Rudy Galindo? In 1996, he seemed to leap from nowhere in an astounding singles figure skating performance at the US Championships in San Jose. I watched the program on television and could feel the energy of the performance and the energy from the crowd. We were all enthralled at the beauty and perfection and energy of that performance. And we all thought, “Where did this guy come from?”
There are writers like that. Suddenly, with a first book, they become best sellers, shooting onto best seller lists while readers wait for the next book. I know writers like that and I hate envy admire them greatly, but most of us don’t appear like that.
My second point is this: Rudy Galindo wasn’t suddenly hatched. He didn’t show up at the competition and launch himself into spins and twirls. He’d been working at this for a long time. He was pairs partner with Kristi Yamaguchi until she decided to concentrate on her career in singles. They’d won the US championship in 1989 and 1990. He dropped out for a while but decided to return. After a year of hard work, he burst–again–to the top of the figure skating world.
Even writers who appear suddenly have worked on their craft. Jane Austen wrote her first books for the enjoyment of her family. I have a friend who had the first book she wrote published and twenty more since. She also has a PhD in creative writing. Others have been journalists or have a number of completed and unfinished manuscripts under the bed that will never be published or took creative writing classes and submitted and entered contests and worked with critique partners. Oh, I’m sure there must be someone who just wrote a great book with no background but, like figure skaters, most writers have spent years practising their leaps and foot work and tracing words onto paper until it finally comes out right.