Novel Beginnings


I spent a few hours purchasing and setting up a notebook according to the suggestions by Phyllis A. Whitney from her book I purchased many years ago. Guide to Fiction Writing was published in 1982 by The Writer Inc. Publishers, Boston, MA; and copyrighted in 1982 as well.

She groups information together in her notebook that helps keep the novel on track without limiting the ability to add characters later on or to inhibit creativity. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve read this book, but I’ve set up more than one novel in working notebooks that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.

The Young Adult novel I’ve been working on forever and finished it, per say, lacks tension and one editor suggested I change the main character to a male instead of having a female lead. I felt like I wanted to curl into a ball and roll down a slight incline until I blended with the horizon.

Last week I read Davis Bunn’s advice to new writers on Goodreads’ site. He said the first novel is wonderful and you may even get it published, but it’s pretty rare. Put it aside and start a second novel. He suggested the future may allow an author to re-write the first novel, but usually they are a learning experience. Maybe that’s why after all this time I couldn’t seem to muster up the strength to re-write again. It’s changed so much from the original I can hardly recognize it.

I got so excited at the library over an idea that I think the Lord planted in my heart. My husband is not thrilled about it for me because it’s going to be a difficult book to write. So, I asked him to pray for me. I called a few others and asked for prayer. Should God allow this novel to grow and get published, I am writing without a publisher pushing for a deadline. Yet this is the first time I noticed how Phyllis A. Whitney used her notebook to keep herself on a deadline.

She says that if you notice in the chronology section that day after day you are jotting down an excuse for not working on your novel then you should ask yourself if you really want to write. This is my paraphrase of her advice. She’s got a list of books written and published. Quite a few of her mysteries are out there.

Friends gave me a framed and matted calligraphy of encouraging words when I found myself as a pastor’s wife at age 50. It says: “The Grace of God will enable you to be what He made you to be and do what He has called you to do.”

Then there’s a photocopy of a perfectly symmetrical leaf and under that in smaller print is, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

It’s a beautiful reminder to me that whatever I set my hand to according to His wishes, God promises to help with it.

May God bless you!


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