Sorry (not sorry) that I left you hanging all summer. I needed some down time because I was discouraged. Discouraged with my rejections, the waiting from never-ending submissions, and the slow growth of my platform. My carousel of thoughts kept twirling around to, “Does it even matter?”
But I’ve been studying Joseph and Acts. The theme for both studies this week was waiting. Waiting! How appropriate. In Acts, Jesus is taken up in the clouds and the apostles are left waiting for the Holy Spirit. They have no idea what the Holy Spirit is, but Jesus told them to wait because it was coming. So, they wait, hopefully and with great anticipation.
Joseph was in prison because he refused Potiphar’s wife. Instead of being angry for being punished unfairly, he works diligently. Even when he gets the chance to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and baker, he waits two more years before Pharaoh has a dream and the cupbearer remembers Joseph. He waits. He had his dreams to look forward to. God was with him. So, he realizes that his present location must be exactly where the Lord wants him. He was happy to glorify God whether he was a favored son or a slave or a prisoner.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
I can’t grow in my faith or in my relationship with God if I’m focused on my writing career and how discouraged I am. God’s timing is perfect. I am where I’m supposed to be. I will glorify God in it.
Writing Tip of the Month
Outlines--I’m terrible at them, but they have transformed my writing. I once hired a professional editor to critique my work. It was my second complete novel and much better than my first. I couldn’t wait to hear how she would praise it. You guessed it. She didn’t. She said it was just one thing after another. There was no driving conflict. My main character didn’t face any big decisions, didn’t change anything, wasn’t a hero.
I started researching outlines and I came across the three-part method. Each part is about seven chapters. Each has its own climax and cliffhanger building to the last one with the main conflict and climax and satisfactory conclusion. Each chapter also has its own climax and ending cliffhanger. But ALL of those build toward the main one. In fact, every paragraph, and every subplot also must tie-in and build toward the main conflict and climax.
Let me tell you, that takes planning. So, now I start with an idea for a main conflict, climax and ending. My main character is always moving toward it. When I break it down into chapter outlines, I ask myself, “What does my MC want/need to happen?” Then, I smile evilly and rub my hands together, “What would be the worst thing that could happen to keep my MC from getting what she wants?”
Plotting takes on a whole new meaning. Am I right?
“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
(The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)
They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people.
As Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied.
Be sure and read past the first book which moves a little slower than the others. Great adventure series. Big favorite with my sons.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make.
Heart-wrenching and beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz,
Amazing, unforgettable characters. Couldn’t put it down! (Or the sequel, Where She Went.) Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time. (Lots of language and some teen pre-marital sex referred to.)