Updated: Jun 24, 2020
It's a gray Saturday afternoon here in Minnesota. But it's reasonably warm and a fresh smelling breeze is circling my nostrils. I hope that your day has started with beauty and blessings.
Today I'm going to talk a little about my writing process for Beyond Belief. I know that writer's are supposed to have a rational, reasonable, repeatable writing process. Leave it to me to write a book that didn't follow the rules.
I've always love to write. I write about people, things and stories that inspire me in powerful ways. But Beyond Belief was something a bit outside my experience, just as the events of 2020 have been outside most of our experiences. I woke up one morning in January of this year with this story in my head, pretty much intact. In my experience, that's a God thing.
Then I wrote for two months, fleshing out the ideas that I'd been given. I prayed, I wrote, I prayed some more, I wrote some more. I changed names (Jack went through like 5 incarnations before the name fit the man I had in my mind. I figured out name changing could be problematic when my husband asked, 'who's Mark'? Mark had just appeared out of nowhere, never to appear again. Mark was a previous incarnation of Jack. Sigh). I was like a crazy woman, My fingers couldn't keyboard fast enough to capture the images flowing in my spirit.
The hardest days were those requiring me to immerse myself in the darker sides of humanity; researching my villain, then writing him and his impact on my characters---those were long, tough sessions. I'm much happier when I can write about happy times when faith is easy or at least easier. But C.S. Lewis wrote that pain is God's megaphone. We learn so much more in dark, trying times. And so it is with my characters.
After I finished the first book, I began, slowly, to share it with others that I trusted, the first among them being my husband and my mom. I took their comments to heart and revised and re-wrote sections that they'd furled their brows over. Then I got brave enough to have the manuscript professionally edited. I am sorry to say it was a blood-bath. The Oxford comma---who knew? I learned so much through this process and my editor made this book so much better.
'Beyond Belief' was now ready to be shared with a few beta-readers. Some of my readers were close and trusted friends and some were women who, while I didn't know them as well, I respected with every fiber of my being. These women took time out of their very busy lives to read a novel that, in a 6 x 9" format, comes in at about 350 pages when you include the TOC, glossary and notes. Then they spent time with me, either by email or by telephone, talking through what they liked, what they didn't and where they saw holes in the plot line. And, in the ultimate open-ended question, they shared with me how the book made them feel. Yes, I really asked that question. I'm talking telephone conversations that lasted over an hour. There is no way I can adequately express my profound thanks.
The book is now in the hands of my dear (and ruthless) editor for a final perusal. It will be going to my publisher next week to start its journey into book form.
Oh, and to prove that God has a sense of humor---just as I was writing the last few chapters of 'Beyond Belief', I woke up one morning with another story to share, involving the same characters. Book 2-'Beyond Imagination is almost ready for beta readers and my editor to vet. And, not too long ago, I woke up thinking about a final book in this saga. Book 3-Beyond All We Could Ask or Think. Just in case you're wondering the titles are a paraphrase of Ephesians 3:20-21.
So that's my process/non-process. This book---these books hold my heart. Enjoy the gratuitous photo of Lake Superior's beautiful North Shore (taken by me). I want you to internalize the beautiful setting of these novels.