Where I live, we’re caught in the awkward time of year between summer and fall. See, technically it’s still summer, but school’s back in session, so it should feel like fall. And if we’re being really technical, we don’t experience very much variety in the seasons department ‘round these parts. They all just kind of blend together in a combo that slides from spring to summer and back to spring.
You can tell I’m getting old when I open a blog post with a discussion about the weather. Sigh.
Maybe I’m not that old, but I did start my fourth year of college this week! As a matter of fact, it’s Day 4 of my senior year of college.
Senior. Me. Anna Schaeffer. What.
I’ll try not to freak out on you. No promises, but I’ve yet to go into hyper-cleaning mode like I do when I’m stressed.
Now that my Costa Rica series is over (click here to read it), we’ll be moving on to some new topics on the blog. I had such a great time sharing a few of my experiences with you, and I appreciate all of you who told me you were keeping up with my journey.
Now that the series is over and school is once again in the picture, here’s what the blog schedule will look like:
Because I’m doing the whole manage-your-priorities thing, homework has to come before blogging. Because as fun as blogging is, it doesn’t pay the bills. Neither does school, but you know what I mean. But take heart: I’ll still be hanging around! I’m just planning on a weekly rather than biweekly posting schedule this fall. Blogging really is important to me and I have the greatest time sitting down to type out my thoughts and hearing what’s going on in your lives, too.
If you’re curious, I’m taking classes exclusively in my major (English Creative Writing) and minor (Communications) this semester. Core requirements are behind me (with the exception of one.more.science I have to pick up later), which means each of my classes are either writing intensive, reading intensive, or writing and reading intensive. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about that later on.
In other news, I finished the first draft of my 2nd novel!!
You know, that one I mentioned a couple months ago. The one that involved lots of conflict and “what if” questions and research. The song of my heart? That’s the one. And it’s done! Or at least the first draft. I’m taking a bit of a break from the story so I won’t be so overwhelmed by things that need to change when I read through it. It’s currently just under 80,000 words, which is actually a little over my goal. It’ll be trimmed and rearranged and all that good stuff, but I’m happy with where it’s at for the first draft.
I’ve never poured so much emotion into a story before. I’ve never had such high stakes (not to be confused with steaks, which would be an awesomely delicious story element) in something I’ve written, either.
This story is also a little grittier than my previous stories. And I don’t mean that in an edgy, cover-the-kids’-eyes way, of course. What I mean is, it’s about life. And life isn’t always handed to us in a neat little package with a big bow on top. Sometimes it’s feels like life is dumped into our lap and we have to sort through everything before it makes sense. And that’s where the emotion, hopefully, comes in. The goal is for the reader to see that, yes things happen that we don’t understand, but God promises He makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
A lot of times, writers tell you their characters take over the story and do what they want to do, rather than what the author wants them to do. If you’re a non-writer, that may sound ridiculous, but if you love penning stories like I do, you’ll probably understand what I’m saying.
Example: I didn’t anticipate my main character’s personality. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on how she processed life before I started writing, but she turned out differently. She’s a little snarky like I thought she’d be (she’s a product of my brain, after all), but her voice is so much stronger than I’d planned. Her story is pretty serious, so although there are jokes and one-liners and other things I wish I were good at in real-life, she needs that strong voice to carry us through her story.
Maybe it’s because my characters are in their teen years, or maybe it’s because I’m in to happily-ever-afters, but I had to fight really hard to make the plot go the way I wanted and not end up super bubbly and light-hearted. Meaning, I had no intentions of writing a love story.
But then, somehow, one of the guy characters ended up with a dimple on his chin. So of course the girl character think that’s adorable, and I found myself yelling at my main character, saying: “You can’t like this guy! You actually despise him! You don’t even let people see past the wall you’ve built up around yourself!”
And she was like, “But he’s got this dimple and deep eyes…”
And so I said, “PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME! YOUR LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE FALLING APART!”
And she responded with, “Well, at least don’t make me say that next line to him. That’s hurtful.”
And then I walked away from my laptop for a few hours, trying to figure the whole thing out. And I don’t want to give any spoilers or anything, but I will say we reached a compromise (Really, though, I just laid down the law…don’t tell my character).
As I was thinking about this the other day, I realized something: We’re just like those characters. Obviously, we’re real and they’re not (unless you’re me and they’re constantly murmuring things in the back of your mind), but we’re people living out a story.
Oftentimes, we try to do things our own way, just like my example up there. I’m not just talking about relationships, although you’re welcome to draw your own conclusions from that. But we think we know what’s best for us. I’ll be the first to raise my hand.
NEWSFLASH, ANNA: You don’t know what’s best for you.
But God does. And He has big plans for our lives, if we’ll just trust Him. If we’re following Him, He will take all of the stuff we’ve been through and use it for our good. For a purpose that glorifies Him.
I’m excited about the next step for this novel. I’m excited about revising and editing and everything else that comes along with the whole writing thing.
I’m also excited to see what God has in store for Fall 2013 in my own, real-life story. What about you?
In His love,