Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some Characters Need More Faith

Almost eight months ago, an editor rejected one of my manuscripts after requesting a few revisions. I didn't understand what she wanted, now eight months later, I do. Isn't that the way it works? I always seem to be off in my timing. Yet, I know that none of this took God by surprise. While I may be late, He never is.

It took me putting that manuscript to the side, writing another manuscript and writing a third of my way through a second manuscript before the light came on. This didn't just happen. It took prayer, patience, and listening. A few months ago it began to gnaw at me because I still believed this manuscript had promise so I prayed that God would show me what to do. My prayers were, show me Lord, how to be a better writer. Teach me what I don't know. And then I prayed specific things regarding my writing.

On faith I entered this manuscript in ACFW's Genesis Contest. It finaled in its category! But, what I'm most excited about is some of the feedback I've received. The editor that rejected it asked me to tone down some of the language and just mix it in to give it flavor for the time period and culture. The feedback that I received showed me that I had accomplished this. It was something I'd been wondering if I'd done properly.

I kept thinking of the manuscript and about the hero. Something about my hero's character wasn't complete. While I was busy doing something else, probably driving to or from work, it dawned on me. I needed to show the growth of his faith more. While it's there in the manuscript, I need to show it more as he comes to terms with everything that's happening around him and he learns to lean upon the Lord. In my manuscript it just happens without him realizing what is really happening. I need to bring that realization to light. This is the internal conflict of the growth of his faith.

As much as the editor wanted to help me, I don't think she could have explained it. Even if she had, I don't know that I would have gotten it. God is my hero. He helped me understand this complex detail that is so minor to fix, and yet important to reach publication. This manuscript will soon be on its way to an agent that has offered to look at my work. Sometimes, only God can show how to improve our writing. Don't stop praying about your writing, singing, art or other endeavors. He hears you and in the right time, He'll respond.
_____________________________________

Jennifer

4 comments:

  1. God's Grace, Jenn. Wow!

    It just gives me Good Goose Bumps reading your post. I'm so happy for you and love the Lord so much that he would use your manuscript, this achievement of finaling in Genesis, to speak to all of us who struggle with writing and why we do it. Especially when we can't figure out why our stories or characters aren't working.

    And I can't wait until next Saturday! Did I mention I LOVED, LOVED REKINDLED? Revealed is on my bookshelf just waiting for me to dive into it!!!! I will this week!

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  2. Jenn,

    Your post is right on. Prayer and guidance from the One is the only way to go. We learn at His pace, with our help.
    I was thrilled to hear you finaled in the Genesis. And now to know the background it's even more special. Your obedience is an inspiration to me.
    And I'm reading Rekindled right now. And ditto Chrisy---I LOVE it. LOVS it. I bought Revealed at the same time.
    Looking forward to the interview.

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  3. Jenn, that's so amazing! I'm so thrilled you had the changes confirmed in the contest.

    You know, it really is important to get away from a manuscript for a while to be able to objectively look at it. Stephen King, in On Writing, advises getting away from it, too. I may not remember right, but I think he says something about 2 months. (or was it 2 weeks?) Anway, he says it really helps for him to step back from it for a while.

    And prayer is also so important. Sometimes we think of that during the creation process, but we also need to during revisions.

    Missy

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  4. Jenn,
    I'm very thrilled for you. I am praying for your proposal to the agent too. It's funny how looking at something through someone else's eyes opens our own.

    May your work be blessed and published.
    Angie

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