Thursday, August 11, 2011

This-n-That Thursday

How many times have you experienced the satisfaction of completing a manuscript? Once? Five times? Still trying to make it to “the end?”

Writing is hard work. Most—if not all of us—have learned that. Maybe I should re-phrase that. Writing well is hard work.

I just completed revisions on a 91K contemporary romance that I plan to pitch at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September. I’ve worked on this story for a long time, but I’m confident that it’s finally ready and worthy to present.

Schedules, time constraints, and editing other people’s projects weren’t the only reasons it took two years to complete the manuscript. 

Although my crit partners fell in love with the hero, they just couldn’t bond with the heroine. I entered several writing contests, and some judges also agreed that the heroine needed to be more likeable. No matter how many times I rewrote chapters, they still weren’t working. The story was based on a theme that was worthy, but it was strangling me in how I needed to present the heroine’s character. 

Then I had an “ah-ha” moment, and I let go of the original theme. By embracing a new message—an even more relatable theme—the heroine grew not only likable, but lovable. I rewrote some chapters and added new ones. But the basic story remained the same. I was set free. Words flowed and the story gained more depth. It all came together and made sense.

It was like hiking up a hill through dense woods on a hot day, stumbling over tree roots, swatting gnats and deer flies. Then suddenly breaking into an opening and discovering a sparkling, clear lake at my feet. Refreshing!
Sometimes we need to let go of what’s not working in our stories …

Once I finally stopped holding on so tight to how I believed the story should be written, I allowed God to show me what he wanted. 

Are you struggling with your current manuscript? Is there something you’ve been stubborn about changing? Even though your crit partners and your own gut have been nudging you in that direction?

Has there ever been time when you were willing to try a new direction in your story and it made all the difference?  Please share it with us!

Let’s keep pressing on to “the end.”

Happy writing!
~ Dawn