Friday, February 22, 2013

Delicious Advice

Just finished reading (or should I say devouring) James Scott Bell's Revision and Self-Editing for Publication - Techniques for Transforming Your First draft into a Novel that Sells. What a wonderful tool this is to assist writers in the revision of their work in an organized and systematic manner. They say that writing is rewriting and I agree. I now feel confident (with this in hand) to begin cutting into my baby. For whatever it's worth, coming from a new writer like myself, I highly recommend this book to anyone contemplating the task of writing and editing a novel.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stumbling towards Nineveh

The idea behind my novel A Sacrifice of Time was to attempt to create a modern-day Christian hero, a fully-fleshed-out character that readers could understand. Jake Justus, like the rest of us real people, would be flawed with his own personal struggles to meander through, but would be both approachable and believable. I found, right or wrong, that adjusting level of transparency in his internal dialogue was the key to achieving both goals.

Of course, my success in accomplishing this is left to the reader to judge. To the reader he would need to become as transparent as a ghost and therefore be approachable. To other characters in the story - those he encountered in his adventure, he would, like so many of us, remain guarded somewhat, enough to be believable. During this writing journey of mine, it has occurred to me that if these qualities are valuable traits for my protagonist, perhaps they are valuable for me as an author as well.

Transparency is a quality I have always respected in others and have, over the years, found liberating in my own life as well. With that said, I need to come clean regarding my own struggles to edit my novel over the last six months. I have mentioned in previous posts that the task of editing my own work feels like performing open heart surgery on one of my own children. It’s not fun and I find I am easily distracted from the chore.

Jonah perhaps felt a similar weight when told by God -
 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come before Me.”
Perhaps he too struggled with distractions that were seen as preferred alternatives to the work at hand. We read that he rose up alright, but decided to flee to Tarshish instead of obeying God. God went on in the story to use great lengths to see to it that Jonah completed the work he was given, despite his willful disobedience.

Please understand, I do not mean to suggest that my editorial work rises to the importance of Jonah’s calling. But I think it is reasonable to assume that Jonah’s story is given to us to help us realize that disobedience to God’s plan for our lives is fool hardy. If I really believe that God has given me a story to share with the world, then I need to share it and that means I need to do the work. And in the spirit of transparency, I need to share the burden and joy of getting to the finish.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of a book by James Scott Bell entitled: Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells. It is my hope that this highly recommended book will help me get across the finish line. The last thing I want, as I stumble towards Nineveh, is God to send a whale after me!

Do you too struggle with finishing? If so please share your comments below