Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When It’s Time to Move On by Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith
At last month’s critique group meeting we read a chapter by a gal who’s been revising her first novel for a couple of years. The first man to give feedback asked, “Haven’t we seen this chapter before?” The writer replied, “A couple of times, but it was rejected again and I need to know what’s wrong so I can fix it.” He smiled rather benignly and told her, “You’ve polished it so much I need sunglasses to read it.”

We all laughed, but as we went around the circle (passing an egg timer to the next speaker in true Lord of the Flies fashion), I knew exactly how the author felt. I’ve been there. Why wasn’t my story good enough? Did passive verbs still lurk in the narrative, hidden from me but flashing like ugly beacons to a seasoned editor’s eye? What could I do to make it better?

Before my first publication I wrote a novel that was dear to my heart, and I wanted so badly for that story to become my first published book. I agonized over every sentence, rejoiced over positive comments from friends, family, and critique partners, went through countless revisions, and produced draft after draft, each better than the last. But the book went the rounds of the publishers and collected a stack of rejection letters. Finally a trusted friend told me, “Lay it down. It’s time to move on.”

That was the best advice I’d ever received. Regretfully—a little fearfully—I laid my baby aside and moved on to another story. That second story was Just As I Am, the one that launched my publishing career. As I wrote I discovered a couple of things about myself. First, I was a much better first draft writer than before. Apparently I’d learned a few things over the years. Next, my second story took on a sparkle the first one lacked. I think all that polishing had dulled the life right out of it. I needed a fresh start, with new characters and renewed energy.

Most importantly, I learned that nothing ever goes to waste in the Lord’s economy. If we dedicate our efforts to Him, He will use everything for His purpose eventually. That truth was made clear to me just this month, with the release of my twenty-second novel. Guess which book it is? Yep. The Days of Noah was written years before Just As I Am. God taught me a few things in the course of writing twenty-one books, so this time when I pulled out my polishing cloth I was able to restore the original shine and beauty of the story. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to finally hold this beautiful baby in my hands.

What advice did I give to my critique buddy when the egg timer passed to me? “This is beautiful, but it’s time to move on. How about writing something new?” I can’t wait to see what she brings to the next meeting.

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Nothing ever goes to waste in the Lord’s economy. Click to Tweet
Sometimes it's best to lay it down. It’s time to move on. Click to Tweet
How about writing something new? Click to Tweet

About the Author
Days of Noah
by Virginia Smith
About Virginia Smith
Virginia Smith is the bestselling author of over twenty novels and more than fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. She is the recipient of two Holt Medallion Awards of Merit (A Daughter’s Legacy in 2011, and Dangerous Impostor in 2013.) Visit her on the web at www.virginiasmith.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ginny.p.smith.

The Days of Noah
Belief in the One God is dangerous in Cainlan, a city founded on the worship of the god Cain. But when the daughter of a pagan priestess meets the son of a religious fanatic she is drawn to Shem’s caring manner and deep faith. Eliana believes his assertion that the One God will wipe the earth clean of the corruption that fills it, especially when she discovers a terrifying secret known only to those high in the government’s ruling council. Though desperate to escape her destiny, Eliana’s life has been preordained. Not even Shem’s God can rescue her from the fate for which she was born – becoming the next high priestess to Cain.

Links to Purchase:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1937671119/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1937671119&linkCode=as2&tag=nexstecri-20

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-days-of-noah-virginia-smith/1116477261?ean=9781937671112

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-days-of-noah-1

5 comments:

  1. That's awesome that you were able to polish your first baby to publication, Virginia, and great advice! Sometimes we just need a little nudge to finally give it up. My first ms is still tucked deep in a closet. :)

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    1. Love this story, too, Dora. It's a little indicative of what God can do for our lives, too. He takes what we've rejected and uses it for His glory. What an awesome God we serve!

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    2. Dora, trust me - I have several others in the closet still. :-) Thanks for your comment.

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  2. I just finished reading The Days of Noah. It's great.

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    1. Yay! Thanks so much, Emily. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. You KNOW how special this one is to me.

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