Friday, December 28, 2012

I Have A Dream

I have a dream! It’s a dream I’ve had for quite some time. It is a dream to be a writer. Not just a writer, but someone whose words tell a story that touches hearts---that shows humanity in all its grandeur, nobility, depth of kindness and goodness, failures, weaknesses, cruelty, selfishness, and inhumanity—and God’s ability to restore, change, give hope and purpose through His unconditional love. I want to make people laugh, cry, rejoice and grieve.

Mostly I want others to see the goodness and faithfulness of a God who has never failed me. Though I often didn’t understand, though I often shook my fist and ranted and railed, and blamed Him for my circumstances, I know now that He always wanted the best for me, and loves me in a way my human mind can’t fathom.

The writing of Like A Cedar In Lebanon was done with many tears and prayers. Since it’s been published, every day I place my hand on it and pray over it, asking God to touch someone, anyone, everyone with this story.

My challenge to you for the year 2013 is to pray and seek God over your writing. Ask God’s blessing over what you write.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confessions of A Not-So-Skilled Writer

When I started my book Like A Cedar in Lebanon two years ago—it was during NaNoWriMo in 2010—I knew practically nothing about the craft of writing. Dare I even confess to fellow writers who may be reading this that I never even completed high school? I married just before my junior year. I did later—much later—get my GED and took some college classes, but nothing related to writing.

Who knew? Certainly not me--that having a good story and a fairly good grasp on proper grammar did not a good writer make. By the time I knew at least SOME skills in the craft of writing, I was 112,000 words and almost to the end of Like A Cedar In Lebanon. Then I was faced with the difficult choice of completely revising my manuscript, or leaving it as is. A complete revision of something that large seemed overwhelming to me. I literally had heart palpitations and sleepless nights pondering this dilemma. My indecisiveness was exacerbated by the fact that this manuscript was already in the publisher’s hands.

So what did I do? I did do some revisions, but basically I left it as is, except for grammar, spelling, and formatting issues. So--fellow writers, editors, publishers, agents—if you read my novel (and that’s wishful thinking on my part), YES, I head hop (not staying in the proper POV), I have too many characters and too much back story, I tend to tell and not show, and perhaps use too many exclamation points, or ellipses, or dashes, or whatever.

Here is my public apology for all of you who are offended by such things, or for those whose nerves are frazzled whenever they read a book where these things are evident. I am guilty. Ironically, the more I learn about all the little, or not-so-little, nuances pertinent to the craft of writing, I, too, pick apart a book I’m reading. But in a good way, not to be mean or critical. I’m just pleased, or maybe I’m more displeased, that I am able to spot these things.

Somehow, for me, it takes the joy out of reading.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Cougar Wins!

I won! I won, I won, I won! Yeppers, I am a winner. No one could have been more shocked and surprised than me. I have entered a few writing contests on Christian sites.

I always do the weekly challenge with FaithWriters—if you’re not currently a member, I encourage you to join and enter the challenge; it’ll improve your writing skills—and I place sometimes on there. I’ve entered other contests with no results, really! But now…now I am a winner! I won the FaithWriters annual Page Turner Contest. This year it asked for non-fiction entries. They alternate—one year it’s fiction, the next year, it’s non-fiction. I’m not much of a non-fiction writer, but I do have an interesting, trendy story right now in that I am a cougar.

Ew, I don’t like being called cougar. The image it evokes is not good, at least to me. But Jeff and I have been married (second for both of us) for 18 years after dating for almost 4 years. I am 16 years older than Jeff.

That was my entry: How Does A Harmless House Cat Become A Cougar? And I won. Look for the book. Hopefully it’ll be coming out next year. Can you have a successful marriage when the woman is so much older? What are the challenges in a blended family where the woman is the older one?

Read the book.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pushing Through Discouragement

Why do writers write? Are you a writer? What drives you? What motivates you? I write because I can’t “not” write. Ideas, story plots, characters, and conflicts flow through my mind like butter melting on toast. My characters in Like A Cedar in Lebanon became as real to me as people that I know. I want to write edgy Christian fiction that deals with real problems: abortion, abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, murder, rape, unfaithfulness, divorce, adoption—you get my idea. I’ve worked with people in ministry most of my life. These things happen, and they happen in the church world. In the midst of all of that, I want to hopefully show God’s heart for people. And although people fail, God never does. In Like A Cedar In Lebanon, both Jack and Lebby learn what true forgiveness is, that God is a faithful God, that He can restore and truly bring good out of bad. My writing journey has been full of disappointments and discouragement, but I wouldn’t give up. I prayed continually over my writing journey. If God wasn’t involved in it, I didn’t want to be a writer. My challenge to you is to persevere, push through disappointment and discouragement. If you have the passion and drive to write, believe that God put it there.