Showing posts with label OWFI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OWFI. Show all posts

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It Only Took 5 Years?

Learning has come full circle for me. I guess I'm slow, but, as the cliché goes, I'm sure.

Five years ago, I wrote a manuscript with this tagline:

She’s addicted to overeating.

      He’s compelled to control her.

      But only God has the power to provide




At the ACFW conference in 2008, I pitched this story to an agent and a publisher. Their responses were helpful, but the takeaway was that it wasn't ready for prime time.

I pitched it as an inspirational romance.

"What's your main character's goal?" the publisher asked.

"To overcome her compulsive overeating and prove she isn't insane like her dad."

"Then, it's not a romance, it's a women's fiction."
PROBLEN NO. 1 - wrong genre

"We only publish romance."
PROBLEM NO. 2 - wrong publisher

I pitch it to the agent.

"What's the length?" he asked.

"60,000 words."

"Too short for women's fiction."
PROBLEMS NO. 3 - wrong length

The agent read my ten pages, and gave good feedback. I'll always be grateful for that.
He said, "Either, change the goal to hero and heroine finding love and publish it as a romance, or add 20,000 more words, and keep the same goal."

I prayed and made a decision.

Going through the entire work another several times, I added more drama, fleshed out scenes better, and took scenes from flashbacks to active time. Much better. Then I deleted unnecessary words. I was left with:
66, 000 words

In my inexperience, to add 14,000 more words, I needed another whole subplot, so I gave a fourth character three POV chapters. Now, I had it.
a little over 80,000 words

I pitched it several times after that without success, so I laid it aside.

In summer, 2012, 4RV Publishing released my debut novel. Then, in Dec., 2012, Pen-L Publishing released my devotion book for overeaters. I decided that would team up nicely with my fictional heroine who struggles with overeating, so I pitched it to Pen-L and started the process of rewriting the old story.

Thanks to five years of online courses, reading books, going to ACFW Conference, Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Conference, and OWFI conference, I stored up a wealth of writing helps. During this period, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more. I read many books in my slow-reader style. In September, 2013, I attended the Immersion with Margie Lawson which improved my skill at putting the reader into the story and revving up the emotional impact.

I rewrote all fifty chapters. By the time I finished, the manuscript was 96,000 words.

PROBLEM NO. 3 repeated - wrong length
Only this time, it's too long.

I prayed and made a decision.

With my five years of studying, now I realize that I need to delete the extra POV chapters for the secondary character, and rewrite what happens in the hero's POV.

So, what did I learn in 5 years?

Go full circle. I don't require more characters.

SOLUTION TO ALL PROBLEMS - deepen the emotion in your story

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I’ve been tagged to take part in The Next Big Thing by fellow 4RV author, Melanie Robertson-King Find her at:

  I answer ten questions about my next book in progress, then pass the baton on to two more authors. It’s loads of fun and you never know what you might find out about an author’s book.
So here we go!
What is the working title of your next book?
A Ghost for Shelley
Where did the idea come from for the book?
After 4RV released Victoria and the Ghost last year, I was asked if there was a sequel coming. I decided there should be and started at work writing it. In Victoria and the Ghost, Shelley Halverson is the girl you love to hate, the country girl who gives city girl, Victoria, a rough time. I thought what if....? I find it fun to play that game. What if Shelley got moved to the city? What if the move made her feel ashamed of her actions toward Victoria? What if she fell for a rich city boy that had everything when she had nothing.
In what genre does your book fall?
Inspirational YA with paranormal elements
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Amy Adams as Shelley. Adam Senn as Colson, the hero.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A guilt-ridden country girl, forced to move to Dallas, confronts betrayal, arrest, and a loss of faith but meets a jet-set jock with a heart for God, and a ghost with a message just for her.
Who is publishing your book?
4RV Publishing (I hope). I submitted the first 3 chapters and synopsis and received a request for the full manuscript. I'm in the process of doing a final editing of it before I send it. I hope it's good enough since they published Victoria and the Ghost and this is a sequel.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I began Sept., 2012 and ended April, 2013 so seven months. However, I do many projects at the same time, so I wasn't always writing on this one. My non-fiction devotion book Divine Dining came out in Dec., 2012, so I also worked promotion on both of my books during this time.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Live on Hold  by Beverly Stowe McClure and the Laurel Shadrach series by Stephanie Perry Moore.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The what if question.
The first book explored a teen's view of a mother's rejection and a world with no friends because of being moved from city to country. A reverse viewpoint drew me to the sequel. Another thing that brought about this story is hearing of struggles with teen self-mutilation. I discussed the reasons and forms with our church youth pastor, and I sought to help the reader understand this progression in a teen.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The proverbial opposites-attract love story. Colson hates being loved for his money and his family connections. Shelley hates being classified as a freak because she comes from the country.

Now, to select one more person to take part who will post their next big thing on May 23  TODAY.
Susan Meyers

Now, to select one more person to take part who will post their next big thing on May 30.
  Eileen Rife @


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Little Is Much

But me, I have little to offer
Though I follow the Lord's command
But even little can be much
When put into Jesus' hand.    

Jesus changes things. In His hands, small insignificant seeds of obedience flourish and a small amount of bread feeds thousands.    

God magnifies little changes in anything we do. When I viewed my two-hundred-fifty pound body, losing enough weight seemed like a colossal feat.

I reached the point where I admitted my powerlessness and turned the problem to the Lord. In His hands, it's amazing what can be accompished. Change what you can, and wait for God to move.

God is the author of growing small things into big and big things into small. Look at the seeds we plant that become mighty crops. God points out the smallest seed of all as His example.

Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain. Remove hinder to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
                           Matthew 17:19-20

    My positive thinking (believing I can do it) is as a mustard seed in the hands of the Lord.
Thought to remember:

Food is not the cure for your pain.

Freedom, not bondage, is what we seek.
I asked my Divine Dining class this week what changes they'd made since we started the class to help them live a healthier life. Here's a few of the answers.
    1. I start my day with prayer.
    2. I've stopped eating after dinner except for maybe a fruit.
    3. I'm eating smaller portions and more vegetables.
    4. I think I'm more conscious of how important it is to God.
WHave you made small changes? What others can you start? Has God helped you accomplish something big? Let me hear from you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Worth It All - a true story

Years ago, a fourteen year old girl impacted my life for all time. At age eighteen myself and three hundred miles from home, I struggled with confusion, depression, and anger.

When I graduated from high school the previous spring, I lost my tight control over my destiny. During our senior year, my boyfriend, Charles, had presented me with an engagement ring. Everything was perfect. I pushed Jesus to the background. Love blossomed. What did I need with prayer? When my boyfriend left me the day after graduation, bitterness crept over my heart and squeezed.

At the Christian college I’d selected so I could move away from home, God sent me a special roommate. Belinda lived close to the Lord.

Scampering across our tiny room, Belinda edged closer to me. “I’ve found this wonderful church ten miles away. Will you come Sunday?”

I shook my head. “I have enough chapel services to attend during the week. I don’t need preaching on weekends, too.”

“For me. Please,” she pleaded.

“No.” Her down-turned look pricked my conscience.

Before Charles went into the navy, he’d again pledged undying love, but I’d heard nothing for weeks. I studied my lessons, went with friends into town for fun, and watched for the mail.

Belinda remained kind and patient through all my emotional outbursts. My cheeks burned when I came in and found her praying for me.

Charles came home on leave. He was rude and apathetic. When he left again, I tore up his picture, threw my engagement ring in a drawer, and fell across my bed in a torrent of tears.

Belinda’s cool hand brushed the bangs off my forehead. “God loves you. You’ll be okay.”

One weekend, my parents visited and brought my car. I was free. No longer would I be dependent on anyone who could drive. I determined to forget Charles, but the more I tried, the more depressed I became.

On one trip I drove into the nearby big city by myself. An urge almost overwhelmed me to turn my car into oncoming traffic on a busy highway. I pulled into the median trying to summon courage to go all the way. My breathing labored. Sweat broke out across my upper lip. My hands trembled.

I sat there with traffic buzzing on both sides. My car died and then stalled. I sat, stared, and wept. When calm returned to my mind and my hands, the car started, and I pulled into my lane and drove down the highway.

The next morning, the chaplain preached on 1 Peter 4:2 NIV “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” The message on seeking God’s will in all things hit me like the cars would have, if I’d given into my feeling the day before. Thank God, He stopped me from that compelling desire.

With hot cheeks, I slid down in my seat hoping I would disappear, and no one would know how close I came to suicide. My life had no rudder. Hiding my face, I hurried to my room. “Charles has ruined my life. I can’t think anymore,” I screamed to the wall.

Overhearing my remarks, Belinda came in behind me and closed the door. More accusation than I’d ever heard come out of her mouth seeped into her tone. “You ruined your life by running away from God instead of to Him.” She looked at me. “Come to church with me Sunday.”

I went. The work the Holy Spirit had started in the chapel service continued as I listened to the sermon. More than anything, I remembered the closing song. A young girl sang Esther Kerr Rusthoi’s song “When We See Christ.” The singer’s voice, more mature than her years, resounded across the small sanctuary.

My roommate and I attended that church the next Sunday. The pastor quoted Acts 3:6 NIV “….Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you…..” By the time he finished the verse, I wanted to rededicate my life to God, and when the sermon ended, I ran to the altar.

As the service closed, the young lady sang the same song. Tears burst from me at the line “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”

For several Sundays, the girl missed church. When she returned, she sang her usual song.

I hastened to reach her afterward. “I love your voice. That song blesses me.”

A sweet smile put roses in her cheeks despite the yellowish-black skin across her cheek. A cut above one eye gave her a lopsided look. “Thank you. I love coming to church and singing.”

“What happened to your eye?”

She blushed. Her hand swept as if to hide it. “It’s nothing.”

As I left, an older woman caught up with Belinda and me. “I couldn’t help but hear you ask about the singer’s face. She testified when she was saved.” The woman lowered her voice. “Her father drinks and beats her every time she comes to church.”

My body shivered as if dumped in cold water. “She’s so young, but so strong.”

“Only fourteen.” The woman excused herself and left.

I studied the girl. Her face shone despite the discoloration, and I thought of God’s strength working in her despite hideous trials.

I attended that church for three months. Jesus used that fourteen year old girl’s song to reinforce my commitment to Him. Though I switched colleges, married Charles, and never again saw the girl, I can’t sing that song without remembering God’s call to me through her.

I pray that she’s still singing for the Lord and touching lives somewhere.