I’m noveling again. What does that mean, exactly? Well, I’ll tell you. It means I’m oh-so-slightly neurotic about life at the moment. I’m obsessive about taking notes on anything and everything that could possibly be incorporated into a scene. I’m paying way more attention to my surroundings than usual, too (okay, so that’s actually a plus). It means I’m asking random people random questions at random times. It means I’m bouncing ideas off my sister like, “What do you think of this name for a character?” or “What should I name this guy who seems cool but actually has a messed-up life ?” It also means that, if you have a conversation with me, I’m most likely paying attention to your word choices, your facial expressions, and your reactions to what I say back to you. It means viewing my Google search history is definitely not in your best interest. And I love it. I know all of that might seem a little creepy, but…
Okay, so it is a little creepy.
The point is, I’m writing my second novel. The one I finished drafting almost a year ago was for “practice” and, as such, it will be a while before it sees the light of day again. I mean, it’s still very special to me, but I know its plot still needs some attention, and I also know I’ve improved in a couple of areas since I excitedly typed “The End” on the afternoon of July 25, 2012 (of course I still remember the exact date…).
Part of my writing space. Behold my wonderful wall-o-cork with a few scene notecards pinned up. On the front of each card, I write the name of the scene, then on the back I write who’s in it, what its purpose is, a brief summary, etc.
A close-up (taken several months before the previous picture) of my “happy place.” See the gnome? He’s my writing buddy, although I’ve yet to figure out exactly how he helps. He’s just too cute.
I’ve been planning this new project almost as long as I’ve been finished with the first draft of my other story. And, weirdly enough, the main character of this new one is the best friend of a character in my last story, who is actually the main character in the very first novel I started writing when I was around fourteen. Catch all of that? I have plans to return to that very first story after I finish this one, but it’s just kind of cool how I’m getting to know a character who’s been around for years.
And wow, does she have a story!
Last time, I kept the details of the story to myself. I wrote the novel in chapters, sending them out to my sister and a friend each time I completed a new section. But that’s it. I didn’t discuss plot or characters or anything with anyone. Top secret stuff.
But this time, I need help. The story is so much more complex and deals with things I’ve never experienced. My sister Abby has agreed to help me research some stuff (If you’re reading this, Abby, please contain your enthusiasm. And eye-rolling), and I’m being forced to open up more about what’s going on in the story. But because the story is so much more complex, I’m not passing out chapters for critique as they come. Everything has to tie together so much more tightly, so it wouldn’t work to break it into pieces like that.
So what’s it about? The theme is purpose. It’s about how, no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve come from, God has a plan for our lives. In that way, it’s also a story of redemption. I love a good redemption story.
I’m already learning a lot through this project. My main character isn’t a Christian, so I’m trying to figure out how she approaches difficulties in life. Personally, when I’m faced with something hard, I pray. I may also recite some Scripture verses that tell of God’s promises. But what about my character who believes that, if there even is a God, He’s hands-off and doesn’t actually care about the details of her life? How does she process tough stuff (and she’s seen more than her share of that)? All I know is that I would feel hopeless. Without knowing I was loved so deeply by my Creator who has great plans for my life, life would be meaningless. Without purpose.
I became a Christian when I was young. I’m the daughter of a deacon and a Sunday School teacher. I’m the granddaughter of a pastor. I’ve grown up knowing Jesus loves me. So this project is really opening my eyes. I can’t imagine life without Jesus, but I know so many people live day-to-day without knowing Christ as their Savior, their Hope, their Redeemer. Without feeling His grace wash over them. It’s heartbreaking, and that’s one of the reasons why this story is the song of my heart.
It’s also one of the reasons why this project feels like such a huge responsibility. It’s a story bigger than anything I could tackle on my own. It’s a story I can only tell when I sit back and allow God to tell the story through me. It can only be effective when I realize it’s not my story at all, but rather, His story. A story that He can use.
Writing is a form of worship for me. So whenever I get overwhelmed with how difficult it is to tell such an emotional story, I remind myself that I write because I love it. And I love it because I feel close to God when I write what’s on my heart—what He puts on my heart.
This story has so many twists, turns, and questions, but I’m excited about it. I’m excited to sit in front of my computer and transpose this song of my heart. This piece of me. This story that’s screaming to be told. My main character may be fictional, but to me, she’s real. Like a close friend for whom I care deeply. Because of this, I’m trusting that the Lord will accomplish His purpose through both my life and the life of this character.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” – Psalm 138:8
In His love,
P.S. Have a question about my writing? About things that inspire my stories, how I get to know my characters, or my writing techniques? Or maybe some other, completely random question (it’s fair game!)? Leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll answer them in my next writing-related post :)