Casting Stones

cross coverBack in 2009 I decided I’d try my hand at writing. This is how addictions begin, folks. Some things dare not be tasted.
My first book, like a first love, is a wonderful memory. I dove into it like a wild child into a dark blue lake, without a worry if the water was deep enough, or even if I could swim. There’s something to be said for that kind of naïveté. It’s a thrill ride—a new discovery at every turn; every sentence surprised and delighted me. Commas be damned.
I’ve now written eight books and my writing has become a whole different animal. It’s no longer a kitten, springing from couch to chair, pouncing on every loose speck of fuzz. It’s now a cat who saunters into a room and sits down in a pool of sunshine to groom.
And it’s this constant grooming that takes a little something away from the sparkle of writing. Still addictive, yet now it comes with a hangover, perhaps. The sentence, first written with relish, is then dissected and fussed over until it’s finally cut completely from the page. Those ideas, first thought to be golden, ultimately deemed useless.
But it’s all good. Casting Stones began as a wild fling. After I’d had my way with it, I shoved it out the door like we’d broken up. Not everyone loved the story and I began to second guess my desire to write about emotions and ideas. Who did I think I was, playing with literary fiction? A novelist?
I slipped on something more comfortable. Thrillers and mysteries. Some say anyone can write these, but I disagree. A good story can’t be yesterday’s supper regurgitated. The line cook who griddles a great burger is just as knowing about creating that meal as a skilled French chef who makes a fine Coq au Vin.
I made Coq au Vin once. Took two days. My husband and son picked at it. They’d have rather had a burger.
Having said that, Casting Stones is still my favorite book. I like what it has to say. I like that it offers the reader something to think about. Although the message is simple… don’t judge… it’s also complicated… if you loathe me for being judgmental, which of us is standing in the deeper mud? And, of course, the underlying theme asks who is the real sinner? The character who is so easy to hate—the obvious villain? Are you sure? Could it be you?
It’s for the reader to decide. The book provokes thoughts, but doesn’t hand out answers. I’ve always liked that kind of story. I’m not one who enjoys being spoon fed. So, although it was the first book I wrote, it’s still my favorite.
Have you read it? Would you please? I’d love to know what you think.

8 thoughts on “Casting Stones

  1. Enjoyed reading this. I used to think I was a fairly decent writer…that is, until I joined a writing group. I love each of them and their many gifts and suggestions, BUT now that I know more, writing is harder and not as much fun. Challenging, yes, but not quite as exhilarating when I have to stop and remember “show, don’t tell” or “watch the overuse of passive voice.” Still, I love it and write a little every day even if it’s just a little something in my journal.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Stick with it. You’re writing is finding its own skin. I think there will always be ups and downs, just like in life.

  2. Becky Breed says:

    What a wild, wonderful post this is, Gina! I loved how you played around with fabulous description – “The line cook who griddles…” and editing over and over again “comes with a hangover.” Just splendid! I read Casting Stones and enjoyed every word. Thank you.

  3. Casting Stones did make me think. It was one of those books that stayed with me for weeks/months after I finished. So I’m glad you took the chance and swam into the deeper waters of writing.

  4. You know I’ve read it! Hard to believe you’ve written seven other books since. So impressive. And I agree–thrillers and mysteries are no easier to write than any other genre. All books require long hours and hard work, no matter which library shelf they fall on.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      All stories have to have certain elements. Casting Stones took more of an emotional commitment. I’d still love to see that story finding more readers. I think it holds the test of time.

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