Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Revise, Revise, Revise!

Slaying dragons...

So You Want To Be A Writer?

I started my writing journey back in 1989. I was young (22 years old), naive, and ambitious. But one thing I was not was a writer. 

Like most of us, I thought just because I had an idea, that meant all I had to do was write it down and publishers would flock to my door begging me to let them publish my book. That's how it works, right?


One day, it was 1997. Life got in the way, so I had to put my book on the top shelf. I didn't take it off the shelf again, until 2004 when I enrolled in a creative writing course at Arizona State University. I was blessed to have had a teacher willing to take his students through the writing process one painstaking step at a time. 

And the result was I learned many things about writing and about myself. 

I learned that year, that I really had a good story. I just needed to learn how to write it all down. Recently, one of my students asked me if I wished I could go back and rewrite my books now that I know so much more about writing than I did way back in 2004. My answer? YES!

Of course! Don't you wish you could go back in time and redo something because you've learned so much since then? And I'm not talking about high school SATs or anything like that. I mean, I truly wish I could go back and rewrite some of my chapters in my first book simply because I know so much more about plotting out a story, developing characters and scenes now than I did back then. 

Slaying Dragons

But, you know, there is a part of me that wouldn't change a thing. When I wrote my book and went through it with my editor and my publisher, they saw something in my story then as they do now. They believed in me and my book. That's something I will always treasure: these professionals took a chance on an unknown writer. 

So, slaying the dragons in our minds (you know, the ones that want you to give up, quit, and walk away from your project?) ...takes time and much effort. 

I recently sat down with my editor as we went through my last book in The Dragon Forest trilogy, and was pleasantly surprised to hear his ideas and constructive criticism. I didn't squirm like I did before. I didn't feel overwhelmed by his many, "Why?" questions about my scenes, characters, or conflicts. I didn't squirm or feel overwhelmed because I have confidence in my story. I have people reading my books. I have an audience looking forward to the next book. These are things I never had before. 

I didn't squirm or flinch because I am a writer now. 

Yes, it's true! By the grace of God, I am a published author. 

And what a blessing this journey has been. My little book is out there now for many to read. When I see a student reading my book at the school where I teach, my heart leaps for joy inside my chest. A smile creeps across my face, and I send a prayer to heaven thanking the Lord.

Relax and Revise

Would I go back and make changes to my books, to my life? Sure. I'm not one to shake my head at revision. Writers know the first draft is just that...first. A second and third will follow. And that's okay. 

Just as in life...we must stop, take a step back, evaluate our current position in life or our decisions, and, if necessary, revise! There is no perfect one is perfect except The One. 

 It is to The One that I am most grateful for this writing journey. I can't wait to revise my manuscript. My editor gave me some wonderful ideas and so did my beta readers. This is the part of the writing process I think I love the most. Seeing the story come to life! 

So, once again, when school is out later this month, I will sit at the computer and type out the third book in The Dragon Forest trilogy. I can't wait!

I love being a writer.