My lack of updates, of late, by no means indicates I have abandoned this blog. I have simply been hard at work finalizing my Christmas novella, The Journey of Joseph Winter, and taking in all of the notes and suggestions from my editor, Pam.
While the idea of writing the story in first-person journal form made sense to me ten years ago, she was correct in pointing out it isn’t the best way to tell the story. Many things have changed since it was originally written as a story for my family. It grew from roughly 6,000 words to nearly 15,000 during my rewrite, and I should have taken into consideration changing the format at that time, but I resisted. I wanted it to be in journal format.
One of the many things I’m learning as I go through this process for the first time is that I need to learn to let go and be open to change. I need to do what’s best to serve the story, because that’s what this is all about. If I’m not focusing on telling the best story I can, in a way that makes it the greatest it can be, I shouldn’t consider publishing.
The best thing I ever did was go to Pam for help. Not only did I get unbiased feedback, I’m learning much more from it than I ever anticipated.
While we may think we’re great writers, it helps to get impartial feedback on your work. And when we’ve never published before or written anything professionally, there is so much to learn. Pam has shown me things I may not have considered and pointed out elements of the story that simply did not make sense.
As I’m writing, what makes sense in my head may not be communicated effectively on the page. In my head, I create reasoning for what I’m writing through a backstory, which may not adequately be communicated in the words that make it onto the page.
She helped me see this.
So, while I may have thought (hoped) I delivered a masterpiece, I was open to honest feedback on what I’d written. Now, The Journey of Joseph Winter is on its way to becoming something more than I anticipated it could be. It’s a lot of work to make these changes, but Pam is correct—the changes serve the story better. It is going to be special, and it is going to be the best story it can be.
With Pam’s invaluable evaluation, she has helped put me on a path to becoming a better writer.
If you are working on your first novel or your tenth, hire an editor and always be open to change.
The Journey of Joseph Winter will be published in the fall of 2014.
Image by Ross Findon