Goodnight Sunshine – the Wife’s Perspective, Part 4

Goodnight Sunshine Book Cover

After a California Christmas with Mark’s parents and his precious Uncle Tom — whom Goodnight Sunshine is dedicated to — we headed to Tucson, Arizona to connect with friends. It would be a working holiday because we had given ourselves a deadline for completing the book. Mark and I traded off day after day for the next couple of weeks. It was the perfect combo of intensive long days of purposeful work followed up with soul-filling days in nature with friends. As a bonus we took a road trip to the Grand Canyon — with Mark driving and me editing through the driving hours — and before we left Tucson, the edited second draft was complete.

One day in Tucson while Mark was writing, the rest of us popped into a huge used bookstore. Thinking ahead, I started scouting for books that would help us with the next part of our plan. When Mark’s book was done, I would immediately get working on the screenplay (yes, me — the one who hadn’t yet completed a writing project), so I wanted to get a jump-start on learning. I bought a couple of great books and dove into them with excitement … until … dead stop.

It turns out that for a first movie, you need a pretty simple setting and plot to pull it off on a small budget. Goodnight Sunshine travels across the United States and down to Ecuador with an opening scene of (can’t tell you) and a climactic scene with (can’t tell you), and is not a simple screen story with a low budget. Huh. Didn’t think of that.

To top things off I was disappointed with the outcome of Mark’s second draft. Where I previously thought he was a jerk, I now felt the romantic climax had deteriorated — Mark had taken his truth out of the story and filled it in with mushy feel-good fluff. Knowing him as well as I do, it was easy to perceive that he had diluted his message. I tried to explain this but I wasn’t sure if I was getting through. While Goodnight Sunshine is definitely NOT the story of Mark and Sheila, we both considered that I might be too close to Mark to be completely objective.

It was at this point that we decided a fresh set of editorial eyes was necessary.

To be continued …


  1. Good stuff. I’m a sucker for stories about writers… because they’re always darkly funny. We writers are failures waiting to… no, we don’t even have to wait. We’re happening. We live out on the limb, which is always cracking. We love the cracking!


    1. Great analogy PJ! You have me visualizing writers in all states of clinging or balancing … daring the branch to crack.


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