Enveloped in the Story

Ever since I finished up college, I’ve been engrossed in writing, revising, editing, critiquing, and reading. Like nearly all day.

I’ve barely had time to stop in here and write anything.

I’m enjoying the world of my characters. 

I’ve got three stories which I’m working on. I alternate from one to the other. It’s very satisfying. 

For a couple of months, I’d been working on my novel, Passage of Promise. The last half of the story is still waiting to run through the critique online group. It’ll be the end of January before submitting it is done.

But several days ago, I flipped over to my WIP, What She Didn’t Know, and reread, revised, and added a few scenes. 

Then I returned to my novella, Mourning Dove. I’ve been working on this for the past few days and am loving it. Using the feedback from the critters when I ran the story through around last spring, I’ve been strengthening those chapters.

I asked my husband questions on police procedures and medical issues a couple of days back, which opened up new ideas, new scenes to implement into this amazing story. I’ve only received positive feedback on this piece because of its wonderful message, decent plot, and likable characters. 

Here are the two blurbs I’ve been working on with my novel and novella.

Passage of Promise:

Marina waited all her life for someone like him. But failure is Marina’s middle name. Sent by her family to the Greek island of Santorini to fetch her great grandmother’s wonder-working icon for her sick nephew, Marina finds it has been stolen. She meets and falls in love with attractive Joel, a history teacher and art collector. He helps her to search for the icon. As time sprints by in the week-long search, perpetual pressure and ridicule from her mother leaves Marina on the brink of defeat. When she finds out who took the icon, the realization nearly sends her spiraling out of control. Personal, devastating failure hits her hard, and she’s left hollow. With icon in hand and lost love stinging her heart, Marina returns home to face battles with her mother and her nephew’s waning health. Clinging to a last shred of hope, will it be enough for Marina to overcome her failures and find love and healing?

Mourning Dove:

Gabby lost her husband, Andrew, in a car accident six months ago.  In the midst of struggling to emerge from her grief, she discovers Andrew’s cousin, Jordan, is homeless. With strong determination, Gabby strives to help Jordan in any way she can.  While sifting through clothes in her closet, Gabby discovers notes by Andrew and Jordan discussing a special gift for her a month before Andrew’s death. Can Jordan be the key to unlocking Andrew’s gift to her?  But amid this good will stands a belligerent homeless man hunting down Jordan for a past wrong. Although frightened by this vagabond seen creeping around her property, Gabby swallows her fear and focuses on aiding Jordan, giving her a new purpose in her life. But will Gabby take that new purpose too far?

I’ll probably publish Mourning Dove first, as I am still not totally satisfied with Passage of Promise

I’ll send it to a couple publishers and see if either accepts it. If not, I’ll go another route.

Tell me what you think. Your thoughts and opinions are important to me. You’re potentially my future readers. God willing! 

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Revising Once, Revising Twice…Going, Going…Keep Going! It’s Worth it

Michener-rewriting

How many times have you revised your novel before you think it’s in pristine shape for the publishing process?  A dozen times?  Fifty times? A hundred times? There’s no end, right? It feels that way often.

Author, Roald Dahl, says of this subject, “By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”

So, how many times have I revised my stories?  I’m not really sure.  Perhaps a dozen times total? Teetering on the barely-broken-in writing scale. But it’s all good.  Some writers may not need to revise their work dozens or hundreds of times.

With that said, I’m back to revising my novel, Passage of Promise.  Yes, my first novel I wrote back in 2015.  I’m back at it after the last editing, proofing, and editorial suggestions from my editor (second round?).

show don't tell book cover

Since reading through half of the Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It) book so far…and I will finish it soon…I truly do understand it for the most part and can see the difference in my sentences and wording through my latest revisions.  I’m strengthening my scenes, character traits, and dialogue.

But I must admit.  A part of me has this urge to turn the story on its head, change it up drastically. Yet, another part of me says don’t jump in the deep, murky water.  You’ll get pulled into the endless, bottomless sea.

I’ve got to resist the waves of temptation and focus on making the story sharper, deeper, and stronger with the plot, characters, and scenes posing in proud, unique form on the stage of my make-believe world.

I may have to run it through the critiquing group again, which means my thirty-nine chapters will travel through the queue for the next few months, but it’s worth it.

My editor said it wouldn’t hurt. People’s feedback may give me a different direction or new ideas, and of course, in the critique realm, I take some of the suggestions that work and discard others that don’t.

I heard some authors have spent five to ten years on one book.  That’s a huge chunk of time, but when you want your work to be its best, three, five, or even ten years may be in order.  J.R.R. Tolkien labored twelve years on his book, Lord of the Rings, before it was published.

lord of the rings wizard book cover

I don’t think it’ll take ten or twelve years to finish my novel, especially since my novel has considerably less words than Tolkien’s sequel to The Hobbit. Also, in my case, a stressful deadline doesn’t exist, whereas it does for some others.

This fresh return to my novel fell on the heels of my novella’s (Mourning Dove) feedback journey through my critique group the past several weeks, counting this one and next week.  I’ll then collect all the comments, remarks, suggestions and work on revising it.

What made me delve back into the revision process of my stories? I am presently reading a book by my muse, Jodi Picoult. THANK YOU, JODI!  Keep writing! 🙂

What are you working on, how long have you been working on it, and what’s your average number of revisions?

 

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Keeping Up With It All

silhouette of woman facing sunset

Sometimes there are days when I feel overwhelmed and just want to burrow away in a cave or crawl under the covers and lay there until all the things in my mind and in the world stop spinning so I can catch up and gain some semblance of peace.  Truly, the last couple of months have been the busiest in my life since the baby and toddler years of my youngest son, Christopher’s brain surgeries and many medical treatments and therapies.

Obviously, this is a different kind of busy.  And really, during Great Lent, I should have a lighter load of earthly cares and an expanded and deeper spiritual regimen/practice.  I’m not doing too well there.  Lord, but I keep trying.  I am enduring.  I’ve got to.

These years of my life are a struggle as I have my usual medical issues since my early twenties of low blood sugar and general anxiety coupled with cantankerous peri-menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes and the dreaded night sweats that deprive me of decent hours of sleep and suck the nutrients and liquid out of my body making me borderline dehydrated.  So then I have to have a bottle of water on my nightstand to take a few sips every two hours I wake from burning up and being drenched in perspiration. Of course, while this is going on, my hormones are a mess, which triggers my anxiety and low blood sugar.  It’s a real balancing act.  But I am enduring.  I’ve got to.

menopause fan and water pic

My novel is in its last edits with my editor, and I’ve been working feverishly on the synopsis of my novel.  It’s written, but it needs to be culled of wordiness for which I’m so guilty. I also have other pieces I’m writing, but they have been put aside while I focus on my novel.

To add to this, I started British Literature class this past Monday, to which there are many things to read and write–journals and essays.  It’s one of four classes I’ve got left until I graduate, and truly, I’m running out of steam for courses with heavy analyzing and five to ten-page papers to write.  But I am enduring.  I’ve got to.

And, of course, my weekly blog posts.  I almost didn’t have anything to write about for Monday, until I thought about all I’ve got going on and figured, hey, why not write about that?  People can relate.  And with that…a Shout Out to all my anxiety-ridden and menopausal pals out there.  We endure.  We’ve got to.

Then there are the regular wife and mother hats that I wear happily and proudly.  My sons are getting through the school year well.  My husband is working so hard.  I love them all…words can’t really express how much.  They, along with God, are my support and life.

So to help ease my stress, I’m going to try to return to walking at least four times a week, do yoga stretches, and read more spiritual books.  Wish me luck.  But you know, I’ve got to do it.

 

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